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Weekly Mindfulness Support Blog - Those Foggy Days

Hello and welcome to Saturday, February 19, 2022. Today is a rare and precious foggy day here in Monmouth, OR – it will never come again.


As I try to get in better physical condition for my upcoming Camino de Santiago, I get to spend a lot of time walking and hiking in all sorts of weather conditions. I’ve begun to see more clearly how varying weather patterns seem to affect the behavior of birds and other animals.


While there are also differences in animal behavior based on time of day, I find that the birds don’t sing as much, and the other animals don’t appear to be as active, on foggy days. Most things seem to move a bit slower on those cold, damp, and dark foggy mornings.


I think that the fog is a wonderful invitation for us to slow down as well.


If you’ve read many of my blogs, you may have guessed that this essay isn’t about actual fog. This piece is about our own personal foggy days.


We each have our own brand of foggy days. For me, I am sometimes in a mental fog and find it hard to concentrate. Other times, I find myself distracted – my monkey-mind is in full swing. Occasionally, my foggy days feel like melancholy. Sometimes I feel sad, anxious, or emotionally triggered, and am thus unable to see clearly. Regardless of the nature of my fog, I can’t see as clearly and my ability to respond skillfully to whatever life offers me is often compromised.


When driving in the fog, it is unwise to take on the highway and other traffic at the same speed as we do on clear days. When our field of vision is impaired, we slow down. (Well, most of us do.) In the same way, if our mind is foggy, moving through our day headstrong at our normal pace could also lead to a collision.


While I realize we often feel pressured to perform at the same level of attentiveness, clarity of thought, and efficiency each day, this expectation is not in alignment with living in reality. Just like the weather, we are going to have clear days and we’re going to have foggy days. Though some may scoff, it might be prudent to compassionately adjust our pace based on our present level of focus, alertness, and ability to concentrate.


When we’re in a fog, whatever that looks like, would it be more sensible to make our choices carefully and methodically or to risk a making a mistake because we feel compelled to work at our “normal” pace?


I know that with our hectic schedules it can be overwhelming and anxiety-provoking to slow down. When we’re in a fog, it can seem like it’s “always going to be this way.” But it’s not. It’s temporary. Just like foggy mornings, the sun eventually breaks through and things return to clarity. We won’t have to slow down forever – just until the fog clears.


Sometimes, the more we argue with and don’t like the fog, the more it has a hold on us. Just like we can’t force a dense fog to lift from the road, we often can’t make our own personal fog dissipate either. Furthermore, resisting our foggy days reinforces them. If a run, or a quiet meditation or a hot bath helps to restore you to clarity, by all means, do them. Alternatively, accepting our foggy days and responding accordingly – by compassionately slowing down – creates the space for the fog to effortlessly disperse on its own.


As always, I am here to help.

You are Loved by me, Unconditionally!

Dan

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