Life is a series of responses
Clouds are here to teach us one thing. Of course, they water the earth, provide shade and supply artists and poets with endless inspiration. But, in reality, they only exist to teach us one life lesson we keep forgetting.
Life is a series of responses.
Scientists say no two snow drops or pieces of hail are identical. No clouds are the same either. They may have similar shapes like puffy cumulus, layered stratus or curly cirrus, but never will you find two clouds the same. They shape-shift endlessly.
Are clouds a reaction or a response? There is a world of difference.
Scientists talk about chemical reactions, a word which seems angry and confrontational. For instance, what happens inside a cell sounds like war. Electrons and neutrons whizz around, and bits of matter so tiny that billions of them could dance on a pinhead, constantly collide, fuse, explode, implode, or race around the globe to generate a pandemic.
It seems that in our everyday life we’re surrounded by violent reactions we have to react to if we want to keep living. It’s survival of the strongest, fastest and richest. Ready, set, go!
But if we talk about chemical responses, our hearts beat slower, thoughts calm down and life seems a bit more positive. It’s a simple switch of terms, and changes how we feel about the world and ourselves.
So, let’s talk about you.
You were there the moment you were conceived, but you don’t remember it, so I’ll tell you what happened. After a long, arduous journey, a sperm cell collided with an egg cell, broke down the egg cell walls, burrowed inside it and took it over. These series of dramatic events resulted in you. You were created by reactions like collision, the breaching of microscopic walls, and cellular politics.
But, here’s another version of the same story. After a long, arduous journey, a sperm cell found a precious egg cell, which softened its walls and allowed the sperm cell inside and kept it warm for a very long time, and you came into being.
You are a result of responses, not reactions.
How does that make you feel?
But back to clouds.
Clouds are a response to water vapour warming and rising, then cooling at high altitudes, becoming heavier, uniting with molecules in the air, and falling. The aspects of nature that respond to each other to create clouds do so without fuss.
Nature doesn’t take sides. It unfolds. As a result, clouds form and un-form. Manifest and un-manifest. Come and go.
Clouds don’t waste their brief lives wishing things were different. Cumulus clouds don’t wish they’d been born a Cirrus and spend their lifetime in resentment. Clouds don’t protest as they get blown across the sky by high winds or become so heavy they have to let go of themselves and disappear.
Clouds are a beautiful response to what is.
We can be the same.
Living with Mindfulness
Nature puts on a daily display of variety and spontaneity above our heads, with clouds adding colour and zest to sunrises, sunsets and every moment in between. Even on cloudless days, the memory of their previous presence is enough to make us smile as we search the sky.
We may live much longer than clouds, but we can learn from them. Next time you see one take shape and then dissolve into air or fall in the form of rain, think about the wisdom they demonstrate. They willingly come as a result of natural responses, then willingly go as a result of the same.
Life isn’t a war.
Let’s not react. Let’s not jump up and down in anger, disappointment or frustration.
Let’s be like clouds.
Come as a response. Respond to what it. And, as a final physical response, go peacefully.
With love, Marlane
The FREE 7-Day Mindfulness Challenge is a gentle step into mindful responsiveness.
Original version published on Medium.com/Illumination