Rainbow Vision: The Antidote to Doom and Gloom
The secret power of the rainbow in the face of an ever miserable world.
Some time ago I went to visit some family in Galicia, Northern Spain. Famed for its notorious wet weather, the green mountains and trees were a much-needed tonic for the dry plains of Madrid that I have grown accustomed to. In true Galician spirit, it rained almost every day we were there, much to the delight of my English roots, which were watered and nourished in the drizzling rain.
To give you an idea of the extent of my thirst for rainwater, Bolton, my hometown in Lancashire receives over 40 inches of rainfall per year, making it one of the wettest places in the whole of England. For this reason, living in hot and dry Madrid often leaves my spirit feeling parched for the wet climate that I have grown up with.
So you can imagine my joy when I arrived in Galicia to a welcome of grey clouds and heavy rainfall.
“I’m home!”, my spirit cried, as I pulled up my hood and stepped out beneath the falling water.
Over the course of my trip, I saw lots of beautiful things: rugged coastlines, quaint seaside villages, beautiful architecture and lovely sandy beaches. But the most amazing thing of all was not the kind of thing that one usually reads about in the guidebooks or hears about from other people.
What I discovered about Galicia was that it is in fact The Land of Rainbows.
This is not meant to be just a cute metaphor. I mean it literally.
What do you get when you mix sunshine (one great thing about Spain!) and rain? A rainbow of course! And Galicia was full of them.
Around every corner, we seemed to turn whilst driving along the coast one day we saw one.
“Wow, look at that rainbow!”, I continuously said.
“Look, there’s another!”
5 minutes later:
Of course, I have seen rainbows before, don’t get me wrong. You often see rainbows where I am from. But this was another level! I couldn’t stop marvelling at the number of rainbows beaming out from the clouds! It felt truly magical to me, a real sight to behold.
Diversity of Perspectives
“What an amazing place to live!”, I thought. “It must be so easy to feel inspired when you have rainbows lining your path everywhere you go!”.
However, my travel companions didn’t seem to share my enthusiasm. In fact, they seemed to be rather put out by it.
When I pointed out yet another rainbow, they barely glanced their eyes in that direction. Instead, they pulled their coat closer, furrowed their brow and grumbled about how cold and wet it was.
“How bloody annoying is this woman?!” was the general vibe that I was getting. They definitely didn’t appreciate my appreciation!
Now, I am no stranger to the discomfort of soggy socks and wet jeans. I’m from North West England after all; I know all about the toll on the human spirit of heavy grey clouds and incessant rain. It can be tough to live in a place with such little sunlight and a lack of blue skies.
But even still, I couldn’t believe their lack of interest in these quiet miracles in the sky.
Where was their sense of wonder?
Where was their send of appreciation?
Where was their sense of gratitude?
Chalk and Cheese
It came as a genuine surprise to me that they obviously couldn’t care less about the rainbows and they would have probably preferred it if I had instead grumbled about the rain just as they did, joining them in stirring their soup of negativity.
Dear reader, believe me, you have never seen rainbows like it. I am not merely exaggerating for the sake of a good story. They were there around every corner, every twist and turn, popping out of the clouds, arching over the sea and city alike.
This land was so abundant with water and magical light! My heart was full; I felt grateful. I was blessed.
My travel companions on the other hand couldn’t wait to get back home and close the blinds. We were at polar opposites of perspectives. We were sharing the same car and the same views. Yet I had a great time and they had a miserable time.
“How could our experiences be so different?”, I wondered as I marvelled at the greenery and beauty all around me. “What do I see that they don’t?”
Where do you put your attention, on the rain or on the rainbow?
Both exist, both are real.
The beautiful thing is that for the rainbow to be born it needs the rain. They are not independent but interrelated. Just like the lotus flower is dependent on the swamp, the rainbow is dependent on the rain.
Together, they create harmony.
The rainbow is but one of the gifts the rain offers us, should we choose to take it.
It is called a rain-bow after all.
So all of this got me thinking about this journey called Life that we are all on, trying to make the best of it, often in difficult situations, whilst also attempting in our own way to co-create a more beautiful world as we go.
We would be naive to think that the path will always be smooth and that we will never encounter any problems.
At times the rain will pour and the thunder will clash, mountains will shake and the ground may well open.
Our challenges are real, our difficulties are real, our suffering is real, not to be bypassed. But that doesn’t mean we should allow ourselves to be drowned by it.
Amidst the thunderous waves of negativity that come our way, we must keep our eyes peeled for the rainbow. This is the key to weathering the storm; the life jacket that keeps us afloat; our surfboard allowing us to glide over the push and pull of the tide and keep our eyes set on the horizon.
It is said that where attention goes, energy flows.
So the choice is ours: where do we choose to put our attention?
On the rain or the rainbow?
On the miracle or the tragedy?
On the opportunity or the crisis?
What kind of soup are we cooking up?
Yet, in practice, rainbow vision is perhaps not so easy.
Doom and Gloom
Negativity is fed to us daily- hour by hour, minute by minute in fact- by the doom and gloom narratives presented to us, which only serve to perpetuate victimhood, apathy, and hopelessness, rather than inform, uplift and empower.
The tel-a-vision tells non-stop stories of pain and suffering. It wills us to believe that the world is ending and taking us with it; that we are all doomed and we are all to blame. Toxic to our hopes and dreams, it puts out all fires of possibility that burn within us with its cynicism and stories of horror that do nothing except fill us with fear. It depletes our joy and seduces us into the submission of our life force.
How can we believe a more beautiful world is possible, in our dreams, in goodness and inspiration when we have been pumped full of fear and negativity?
Negativity is The Easy Way Out
Then there is the strange human habit of taking comfort in discomfort, as bizarre as it sounds. It’s much easier to feel negative, to grumble, to complain, to be the cynic. Why is it easy? Because you will find a lot of people who will keep you company on this path. It is a very crowded path; you can rest assured that you won’t walk alone. You will have a miserable time, but at least you will be miserable in company.
It is also what we know best, what we are used to. It is what has been bombarded at us through the news, media, and TV all our lives. To verge off this path might mean setting off alone into the dark forests of the unknown. Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t! If you leave the doom and gloom script and change the narrative, who knows what will happen to you! We might all be miserable but at least we are miserable together!
My misery validates your misery, and yours validates mine. Hence why as my wonder of the rainbows grew, my travelling companions enjoyed our trip less and less. I refused to help them make the soup of misery, and this resulted in an uncomfortable contrast of perspectives, for me and for them. My positivity reflected back to them their own negativity, and like any discordant energy, it didn’t feel good.
Misery Breeds Disempowerment
The doom and gloom narratives can also be comfortable because they let you off the hook: if the world is ending, why bother to save it? If the world is so full of pain, suffering, death, murder, war (the list goes on), how can I do anything to help? The world is like this, and it’s awful but this is how it is and will always be.
In Spanish they have a great expression for this: Es lo que hay.
This is what there is. There’s no choice in the matter. The end.
In other words, my perceived power to change the world is zero. Nothing I do will be enough to alleviate the suffering I see all around me, so why bother?
Better to stick to the status quo, even if it means playing small and living in perpetual underlying fear.
Our courage to act has been weakened and our imagination to dream something better for the world has been deadened. Our expectations are on the floor.
The cynic in us says: “That’s life! This is all there is and all you can expect. So why dream of something different?”
Naivety is Power
How can we possibly seek rainbows when you have your vision blurred by such an onslaught of mental, spiritual and energetic attack?
For these reasons (and more), it’s much more difficult to be the one focused on the rainbow. It takes a lot more courage and strength of character.
Not only because it involves walking the unbeaten path where company can be scarce, but because you find yourself swimming against the tide and risk being thought of as ‘childish’ or ‘naive’
Yet I argue that the opposite is the case.
The childish ones are those wallowing in the darkness of the clouds and the coldness of the rain, waiting for an adult in the form of some authority figure to come along and make it all better.
How will the world change for the better following their lead? Only more doom and gloom, negativity and cynicism will follow, and we have had enough of that already, thanks very much.
Brave are those walking the path of rainbows. The world will be changed by their courage, vision and insight.
Just like the wild salmon, which swims upstream in the wild and frozen waters, the rainbow seekers are strong.
Unlike the salmon raised in the comfort (or discomfort) of the fish farm, the wild salmon have a higher nutritional value, being purer and fitter. The farmed salmon, bloated after being stripped of their need to hunt and lazy without the battle of swimming upstream, are on the other hand more toxic and weak, unable to lead.
New Earth Rising
I believe that the time has come for us all to get out of the fish farm and start our swim upstream, strengthening our muscles of courage, critical thinking and boldness as we go forth in these icy waters, seeking the rainbows that help raise our spirits and encourage us to keep going forth towards our more authentic dreams and the creation of a more beautiful world.
Yet, as rainbow seekers, we don’t just look for the rainbows. We proactively create them.
The louder the storm gets, the bigger and brighter our rainbow creations will become.
Fear not, we have been swimming upstream, baby! We’ve got all the muscles we need to make those rainbows big and bright.
In this way, we light the path as we go so others may follow suit. Like bread crumbs in the forest, our rainbow creations help create the map to a more beautiful world.
Because in the end, we are all in this together.
And one way or another, we are all just leading each other home.
Returning to my travelling companions, they are still not fans of Galicia. Despite the rainbows best efforts, they still haven’t managed to seduce them into falling in love with the rain.
Maybe it is simply a case of different strokes for different folks. We don’t all need to like the same things, do we? We are allowed to have different perspectives. Variety is the spice of life after all!
Either way, if you are seeking magical inspiration and wish to see a land full of multicoloured light pouring from the sky, I do highly recommend a visit to Galicia. Don’t forget your raincoat though!
As the old maxim says, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only not being dressed appropriately”.
Let’s get our anoraks and wellies on, get out in the rain and spot some rainbows!
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