The weather has shifted in Oregon, and we are under water again. Grey clouds filled with it, dripping slowly down on our heads, forming puddles on the ground. It must be autumn.
I can’t say I’m all sad about this turn of events, as I sit here listening to the rain on the skylights and the cars swish by on the road outside. I have my hot tea, a quilt and a cat on my lap. I’ve broken out the cozy sweat shirts and slippers. I love a good reason to stay inside, snuggled up in my comfy chair.
And I think about warmth, and how sometimes it’s an inside out kind of thing. I can focus on the outside, trying to heat up the outer layers. Or I can focus on the inside, getting the warmth going internally before I worry too job much about what’s happening at the extremities. I am better able to withstand the cold if I’m working inside out.
I wonder if there isn’t an analogy there for life. How long did I focus on improving the outside of me, my external shell and how others perceive me, thinking happiness was derived there? If I could just get it right, get it perfect, life would be good. I lived in that belief a long, long time.
And yet, when I’ve worked on the inside stuff, who I am and want I to be at my core, more good stuff has come along. The external part just seems to happen naturally. It’s not perfect by anyone’s standards, but I am satisfied with what is. I am more willing to go in an unexpected, maybe nontraditional, direction. I can seek my own path.
I can better withstand the cold of other people’s expectations, my perception of their expectations, when I’m warming myself from the inside out. When I have that internal fire of confidence, knowing who I am, where I come from, and where I’m going, I can better withstand the storms outside.
The watery weather tells me it’s time to cozy up. After months of living on the outside, it’s time to bring life indoors. Time to get warm, and grow, from the inside out.