On Saturday, I took a long bike ride along one of our local trails. I stopped for a brief rest at the park, enjoying the chair swing and sipping cool water as I gazed up at the sky full of all sorts of clouds. Maybe it was just the serenity of the moment, but I couldn't help studying those clouds as I sat there. You see, they seemed to be more than just big, white puffs of moisture and air so far up in the sky. I knew that, as all things in nature if carefully observed, these ordinary formations held extraordinary lessons for us. So, bear with me as I become a bit philosophical, but here are a few things that the clouds taught me that afternoon:
1) Stay afloat and learn to rise above situations
We often become so dragged down with the events of our life that we forget to look up. We forget that we have been given wings to sail, if only we will use them. Live in the present moment, not looking back at the past or worrying too much about what's ahead -- and go forward in hope and gratitude for what you have learned so far in your life. The clouds are always, quite literally, on top of every situation.
2) Keep on the move
Always moving forward, you will never stagnate. Each morning brings a new opportunity to make this the best day of your life! Learn to flow like the clouds from one thing to the next.
3) Don't try to carry a load that's too heavy for you
When clouds become heavy with moisture, they release it in the form of rain. When we become weighed down with problems, we can release our burdens through prayer, support from others, and sometimes even with tears -- our own form of rain.
4) Adapt to the space you're in
Don't be so rigid that you feel you have to behave the same way in every situation. Practice being outgoing sometimes, laid back the next. Keep people guessing as to what you will do next. Become a part of things, wherever you are. Fit in and make the most of every situation. This requires some creative thinking, an open mind, and consideration for others and your environment. Clouds always make room for possibility.
5) Provide shade when needed
Although we love to see the sun, sometimes it just gets too hot. Clouds provide pleasant shade for the earth below at just the right time, so it seems. We can also provide shade for each other, a welcome retreat from the heat of the day, bringing peace and refreshment to a tired and weary friend, just when it is needed the most.
6) Inspire others
People have sung about clouds, still others have painted them, or written poems about their qualities. In any case, clouds frequently inspire others toward creativity and wonder. We can be like this, too, motivating those in our life to be all they can be, encouraging joy in daily living, and cheering our loved ones on in their efforts to follow their dreams.
The next time you are outdoors, take a long look at the sky and observe the clouds. Think about what they can teach you. You might be surprised at their wisdom.