Years ago, a client and I came up with a concept we named the cloud effect. We had worked hard together to help her get through a pair of daunting tasks, flying on an airplane and having surgery. Both times, the preparation worked well, and both times an unexpected challenge arose, involving clouds. We concluded that no matter how carefully one prepares and anticipates, it is likely that something unexpected will occur. We also noted that the more preparation that had occurred, the easier it was to deal with the unexpected. For my client, having the label of cloud effect helped her deal with the unexpected, providing a important layer of observing distance as well as an orienting function for her trauma-attuned nervous system. “Oh yeah, I know about clouds, I can likely deal with this and am not in mortal danger.”
Since then, I have carried the concept with me and found it useful dealing with the vicissitudes of life. Less than 2 months into my triathlon training adventure, there have been a number of clouds, and of a varying nature, starting with the very minor “crap, I brought my work clothes to change into, but no underwear”. A more ominous appearing cloud was the potentially bigger deal of injury, when running came with pain of a somewhat alarming nature (interpreted as I’ll get hurt if I continue as opposed to this is difficult and I’m stressing my body in a non-harmful manner). That cloud has produced some intermittent turbulence, which at this point appears to be dissipating.
Then there was today’s surprise, half a mile into my bike ride, when my seat started moving all over the place. Fortunately, it was an easy coast back home. I couldn’t figure out the problem, even with several YouTube assists, so when I finished work, I took the seat and post into the bike shop. They couldn’t fix it either, which on one level was gratifying (I hadn’t missed something obvious) and on another level mildly disappointing. But it was an easy and relatively inexpensive replacement, so not a big cloud.
If you follow my blog closely, you’ll recognize that I started but didn’t finish this post on the day my bike seat post broke. Since then, the silver lining of that cloud has emerged, my new bike, Vita, who was introduced in New Wheels.
Like the actual clouds in the sky and the weather in general, attending to what is going on is important, and at the same time, tying ones happiness to a specific outcome or cloud formation or lack thereof can lead to misery. I hope I don’t need to be reminded of this in 3 weeks during the solar eclipse!