Many of us remember Aesop’s Fables from when we were little kids. My favorite to this very day is the one that tells of the contest between the sun and the wind. Short version: A man was walking along and the sun and the wind began to debate which of them could make the man remove his jacket.
The wind blew down on the man ferociously from every angle and in response the man clutched his jacket tightly to protect himself as he continued walking his path. Exhausted, the wind backed off so the sun could have his turn. The sun looked down on the man and began to slowly warm the field he was walking on- and he kept warming it, and warming it, and warming it. Finally the man began to sweat and he pulled off his jacket of his own will.
I love this story because it reflects so much crucial truth about human nature and human relations. I believe every one of us has an inside climate that is tied to our soul just like the outside climate that is tied to geography. The inside climate is a natural predisposition of our heart and our mind- manifested in our persona and how we actually impact those that enter our space.
Some of us have an inside climate that is warm, bright and inviting- like your favorite beach town in Florida. Some of us have an inside climate that is cold, dark and harsh- like a town off the Cape in Massachusettes. If people have to gear themselves up to be in your presence to make sure that they can enjoy (or just survive) a visit to your climate, that says a lot about who you are. If people find themselves stripping down to the barest minimum clothing they can wear without being immodest to be in your climate, that says something too.
But dig the fact that in our grand ecology there is an absolute need for every climate. Without the extreme cold of Alaskan waters we would not have those ridiculously sweet and succulent crab legs we pay so much for at restaurants and fish markets. And there is STILL something magical about having a classic white Christmas- even for the snowbirds who retired to Miami Beach or the young professionals that relocated to the sunbelt for economic opportunities.
And without the searing heat of our deserts we would not have the oil reserves we need to literally fuel the machinery of our lives. So we need it all.
And just like the seasons change and the weather follows, our inside climate also shifts from time to time. There are explosively beautiful autumn leaves in the cold Midwestern states and pretty summer days there sometimes. And at the same time, the wind and rain can be so ferocious in Florida that the gorgeous gulf and the ocean’s opulent beauty can turn to unrecognizable horror in a matter of hours. And people are the same way.
As we get to know people and continue to explore ourselves it will be helpful to think in terms of what the inside climate is like. Because once you know and understand the climate, it is easier to enjoy the best and manage all the rest. A lot of us who escaped the bitter, brutal and uncompromising winters of Chicago and Detroit and Boston found it difficult to convince our aging parents to join us in the warm and inviting enclaves of the ATL or whatever southern city or sun-belt town we moved to. Why? Because your mother and grandmother had gotten to know the climate up there so well that not only did it not bother them, they actually were comforted by the familiarity.
They knew how it worked and what to do with it. It might even be accurate to say that they actually liked it and they only gave in and moved south because you gave them new grand-kids to love on and they didn’t want to miss them growing up.
So figure out what your inside climate is and then consider the natural weather patterns of those who you are sharing your life with. Then bundle up or strip down as needed. If the climate is not to your liking don’t fret. There is no shortage of options for you to choose from- just like booking a vacation. As long as you stay away from the Bermuda Triangle people out there you’ll probably be alright. Some of us have been there and survived but none of us would recommend a return trip.