Clouds’ illusions

Two mornings. Different locations. Both under cloud.

Yesterday’s morning drive was to Lake Parker on the back of the weather app saying it was clear. Does someone actually get paid for making those statements? Or does it all just come down to a coin toss?

Needless to say, the morning was smothered in cloud.

The first three shots at the bottom of the blog are from there and won’t win me any prizes.

So this morning, when the app said mostly clear, I knew I was on my own. It is anybody’s guess what that means, these days.

In truth, I kind of guessed there would be some of the outer bands from Claudette playing out over the greater Tampa Bay area this early morning.

So, I figured I would head down to Ballast Point on the bay itself, because unlike yesterday’s smothering clouds, maybe today’s outer bands might be a little thinner and faster moving.

I’m no meteorologist but I lucked out because this morning’s clouds down there were definitely less dense and gave rise to some wonderful early morning colors as the lights from the city caught them.

They may have end up completely smothering the sunrise, but I didn’t care. I had gotten what I came for and as I was pulling out of the parking lot just at sunrise, I could see the disappointment on the faces of some of the late arrivals who thought they might catch a good one today.

If I was a good human being, I might have felt sad for them. Maybe. But I smirked.

The fact that the waters were so tranquil also helped pull together some beautiful shots without having to slow down the shutter speed and that really helped capture more of the red tones in the images that you see.

I hope you enjoy.

Anyway, as I drove home I was humming Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” and I thought of her statement “so many things I would have done, but clouds got in my way” and I smirked (again).

Because they hadn’t gotten in my way this morning. They may have stifled me yesterday but I figured out how to use them today and that is really what got my mind turning on this whole blog thought.

Clouds appear in all our lives. I’m not talking about the physical ones that might even dump rain on us.

I am talking about intangible things that cloud our mind, obstruct our plans, and stop us from seeing the future path ahead of us.

I’ve come through several of those moments and it is important to keep in mind that clouds will eventually blow away. As obstacles, they aren’t real.

A single gust of good endeavor can blow them away.

You can sit engulfed in your indecision if you wish or you can find a vehicle on which to cut through the clouds and take yourself to clearer skies.

Not all obstacles are clouds. I am not for a moment saying that. Many of the things that obstruct us and make it difficult for us to move on are real issues that must be tackled and given real attention to.

But issues that aren’t real, issues that are only illusions, are only clouds.

We sometimes create these issues ourselves, allowing fear or stress to make it look like we can’t get something done. “I’m not able to do this” we cry out in anguish and look for a way to retreat.

Maybe it is something new we have to learn, maybe it is a distasteful discussion that we have to have, maybe it is an innate phobia that we have to overcome. Whatever they are and whatever the source, we need to sort out obstacles that appear before us into two groups.

The ones that are real and the ones that are clouds.

The real ones may be things that we can overcome, alone or with help. And maybe we can’t.

The clouds have to be seen through. No one can help you blow a cloud away. You have to walk through it on your own and be confident that you will come out the other side. Because you will.

Unless you stay in the one spot, frozen. In which case you are hoping that the cloud will blow over and in time it very well might. But that is not a real answer.

Because as much as they are illusions clouds will reoccur and if you don’t develop a practice for getting through them, then the next outer bands will stop you dead in your tracks.

For example, self-doubt is a cloud that engulfs many of us from time to time. We are unsure of our skills, our abilities, our intent, even. Others around us can reassure us until the cows come home that they see greatness in us and that we should not worry. But until we see it ourselves, it can hobble us and make it impossible to move forward.

Self doubt can descend on us for many reasons. Perhaps a past where someone told us we were no good. Or maybe something we failed at. But the thing about the past is that it has no real saying on our future. It doesn’t really disable our ability to move, it only reminds us of a time when we didn’t get to where we needed or wanted.

Our future is very much down to what we make it to be. Not what our past shaped our previous story to be.

We have to find ways past our phobias, beyond our fears, overcome our personal challenges, and have that uncomfortable conversation. This is how we move forward in life. These ways may not be enough to get beyond real obstacles, but they form the basis of personal growth and make us better positioned to handle the real obstacles that come our way.

So we can take a cloud, any cloud, and find a way to help us improve ourselves. Help us to evolve beyond the limitations that it seemed to imply was on us.

Once we have pushed through a cloud’s illusion, we can can never be disabled by that same illusion. We know it isn’t real.

I am able to learn. I am no longer afraid of that. And I have a voice … hear me speak.

… just a thought.