Since it’s winter in the US and we’re starting to get the first blankets of white around the country, I thought it’d be fun to use snow as a visualization.
While it doesn’t snow where I live now, I grew up in New England and remember the peacefulness of calm, snowy nights when I stood out on the second floor balcony in the midst of snowfall, listening to the gentle “pat-pat” of snowflakes as they landed on the ground.
I draw on those memories when I think of snow globes. Yes, they’ve often been associated with chintzy souvenirs, but there’s really something quite magical about that little underwater world.
They are also quite beautiful representations of the process of settling down.
Shake a snow globe and watch the glitter spin furiously about, swirling like mad with little sense of a pattern. Those are the thoughts of a busy pre-occupied mind, overwhelmed with responsibities and expectations. For some of us this may be what our current life is like. Or perhaps we’re going through a particularly stressful time and feel as though we’re unable to slow down and catch our breath.
Perhaps we ourselves are adding to the chaos by unintentionally shaking things even more, allowing our monkey minds to run with stressful thoughts. With so much “noise” we can’t see through the water. Everything is a blur. We have a hard time collecting our thoughts.
When we stop shaking the globe and put it down…it will continue to swirl for a while and we may feel like we’re getting “nowhere” by trying to relax. But if we trust in ourselves, trust in impermanence–nothing lasts forever–slowly things will start calming down. The agitation will diminish.
Just as the “snow” will begin to settle down, so too will our busy thoughts and our busy lives. The glitter will float through the water more slowly, and the view will become clearer. A few more breaths, a few more moments of patience. The currents inside the globe lose momentum and the snow will gently blanket the bottom until, eventually, everything is still.
No sign of the tempest that once took place. Just silent peace and quiet breaths.
Until the moment the globe is shaken again.
The trick, of course, is to learn how to find peace as the glitter water swirls madly about. Once we can do that, the storm may rage, but we will enjoy bliss.