Looking for the Rainbow

by Ann Zimmerman, L.Ac.
 
For many years, I have kept a strict agreement that I will stop what I am doing if the weather conditions are nearing for a rainbow. The brilliant combination of the rain and the sun bursting through the clouds creates the perfect lighting. Stopping to notice this beauty feels critical to my soul.

The luxurious rain storms in June on multiple occasions hurried me from the kitchen cutting board and into the garden. My exit from the kitchen could be abrupt and even surprise my 6-year-old daughter who is often in the clouds herself. I usually yell “rainbow weather!” and then
run out our screen door into the garden to gaze at the mountainsides,
carefully studying the dark part of the sky.

The rainbow’s majestic colors and density fluctuations always draw
me in completely. Upon spotting a rainbow, I will let out a long pleased
exhale and then search for anyone nearby to come and witness this
miracle. I can feel every cell in my body smiling with the reminder of life’s divine nature. It’s almost like being in front of the ocean, where you can actually feel a direct experience of healing happening. However, rainbows are much more elusive than the ocean. No roads can be taken to rainbows and you can’t live close to them–we never know when they will show themselves.

And of course rainbows serve as amazing metaphors for life’s journey: in our personal storms of life (sickness, relationship fallout, financial woes, global pandemic, etc), is there not also a rainbow? A place where the weather pattern breaks, a moment when it’s not JUST storming and all falling apart.

Stopping and taking delight in the shift of weather patterns is how we begin to integrate, heal, and gain insight on what actually happened during the storm. To take notice of your life’s shifting patterns puts you in direct contact with the universal truth that everything is always changing.

To directly experience this moment you have to be willing to let go of believing you are the chatter in your mind. Our personal insights are born from being in the present moment. Simply put, being mindful is the attentive witnessing of your life from moment to moment. It turns down the loudest voice in the room, your chatty mind. The
practice gives you a choice about how you respond to change. It gives you the superpower of being adaptable.

It’s as if you left Talent, and went to the top of Wagner Butte, looking down you see how you move about in the course of an ordinary day. You see your route to work, how you go shopping, the main streets, your daily routine, and you’re seeing it all from the top of the mountain. Then you return to Talent. But now when you are moving
around town, there’s a part of you that always recalls the perspective from above. As you go through a day, you’re still watching it all from the mountaintop–a broader awareness while still being in the moment. Living during these rapidly changing times offers the perfect conditions to either adapt or suffer. You get to choose. Do you find new ways to respond to the shifting weather of a pandemic? Can you take moments throughout your day to be mindful of shifting patterns within yourself, to be in awe of nature or another person’s kindness? Can you also be aware of the good while also holding the suffering personally and globally? Mindfulness will not take away the storms of life, but it will help you notice your resistance to them and help you to notice your incredible resiliency.

We each have the capacity to hold the paradox of life.

Mindfulness helps us to not get lost in one story–to not get polarized by prejudice, upbringing, and personal agenda. The space between the thoughts–the quiet between the noise–allows us to experience the magic. It allows us to see and feel the rainbow between the shifting weather patterns of our days.

Cheers to being adaptive, resilient, and mindful!
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