When I was younger I used to do an experiment whenever it rained. I would walk as though it were not actually raining. There’s quite a skill to it, as we don’t realize how hunched we become during a cloudburst. Our shoulders go up, our head goes down and we tense our muscles as we hop quickly from place to place. Without meaning to, we let the rain control us.
During a downpour I would instead walk normally, as though it were a beautiful summer’s day — head up, taking my time, looking at the world around me and relaxing my shoulders. I let the rain win. The feeling was fantastic, and I highly recommend it. It’s an incredibly profound way of breaking a simple habit and being totally acceptant and present. For me, it was also an act of defiance and activism: people would stare. Like, really stare. It was as if I were performing a circus act. Some people slowed down themselves. Some smiled at me. Most seemed highly offended. Regardless of reactions though, I felt really connected to life, and that was good enough for me.
There will always be events, emotions, thoughts and impulses that we don’t like in life. Suffering will always exist. But today in the beautiful storm of Saigon, I am reminded that we always have a choice. We can choose how we react. And that puts us back in the driving seat – even if the seat is wet.