Have you ever owned a snow globe? It’s usually a glass orb mounted on a wooden base, or all plastic in the economical version. Inside the globe is some type of scene, usually winter-based, along with water and “snow.” The snow lies dormant on the bottom surface until you decide to pick up the globe and shake it. Then, the globe is transformed into a blizzard-like winter wonderland, flakes flying in every direction. After a few moments, the flakes settle to the bottom, and the peaceful scene is restored once again.
What a perfect metaphor for the human mind! Think about it... at times, our mind can be quite serene. As the holiday song reminds us “all is calm, all is bright.” Then something happens to shake up our globe. Maybe it’s just a little shake... stuck in traffic, being on hold with customer service, a friend who’s late (again). Sometimes it’s a full-on blizzard... a disagreement with a loved one, an unexpected diagnosis, mounting bills and dwindling funds.
The question becomes, what can we do to settle the storm, or more surprisingly, are there any hidden benefits when we don’t?
Any mindfulness practice will help to still a swirling mind. Taking a few deep breaths, walking in nature, writing in your journal. In fact, the next time your mind is swirling, see if you can picture it as a snow globe. Visualize the triggering event inside its glass orb, the snow of emotions swirling around. Visualize that you can hold the globe at arms’ length, thereby putting a little distance between you and nature’s ferocity. Wait for a few moments, take a few breaths, as you imagine the snowstorm settling down. Perhaps this will bring a measure of calm.
But here’s another important point. In this snow globe scenario, we might be tempted to label the snow as “bad.” In reality, snow isn’t bad, it’s just doing what snow sometimes does. The blizzard comes, and the blizzard goes. Life’s challenges come, and they go. Just as there is beauty in the intensity of nature’s winter storms, so too can there be a fierce beauty in your ability to weather life’s storms.
For a fuller experience of this, I invite you to try this brief Snow Globe Meditation.