Monday, February 17, 2014

To Everything, Turn Turn Turn

Sometimes stuff just doesn't go your way. So what can you do?

What can you do when it snows again, for the three hundredth time since this endless winter began? When your fitness and yoga classes are cancelled again and again? When your unpaved driveway alternates between a solid sheet of thick ice and six inches deep of slushy muck? When you lose BOTH your Ice Trax (stretchy slip-on grippy thingies that go over your boots for traction) on one single walk around the park? (Yes, BOTH!) When the view from your window resembles the arctic tundra and spring seems to be a far-off fantasy? When you have been fighting a relentless cold that has settled in your lungs and refuses to budge?

You can throw a temper tantrum, but that only makes you feel better for a few minutes. Then you may feel even worse. Possibly embarrassed, depending upon where you were when you lay down on the floor, screaming, crying, and kicking. It is pretty unlikely that your antics will actually change anything for the better. And they might make your throat hurt.

You can bury your feelings so that they ferment and bubble and burn in your gut until you can no longer control your rage. So you go on a two week homicidal rampage leaving devastation in your wake. This option might not hurt your throat, but will almost certainly land you in prison for life.

You can sink into a deep depression and refuse to leave your home, or get dressed, or even get out of bed. Although this option probably won't hurt your throat, it will definitely hurt almost all the other parts of you.

I will be the first to admit that winter is bleak. But there is a light at the end of the frozen tunnel.

And I believe that Step One is Surrender. As long as you keep fighting, you will be in pain. As long as all your energy is going toward denying, or rejecting, or hating, you will be unhappy. This goes for hating winter, or anything else. Winter just is. And if we accept that it is, we can move on to Step Two.

Instead of focusing all your energy on hating, see if you can appreciate the opportunities that winter brings. Instead of telling yourself that you are stuck inside yet again, think of all the possible activities you might enjoy indoors: cleaning, painting, cooking, dancing to your favorite music, practicing yoga or tai chi, building a fire, perfecting your push-ups, reading a novel, sewing or knitting, playing chess, working on a crossword, writing a blog. I know that when spring (FINALLY) rolls around, I (and you) will want to be outside as much as possible. So now might be a good time to get all those indoor things accomplished.

Winter is a natural time for drawing inward. For containing your energy rather than expending it. For hibernating rather than roaming. For pondering, ruminating, and dreaming. Perhaps this energy feels uncomfortable? Lonely? Sad? Instead of rejecting these feelings, try surrendering. Allow yourself to feel lonely, or frustrated, or tired. Feel whatever there is to feel, then allow yourself to let it go.

Soon your energy will change. Soon the seasons will change. And we will need to surrender to spring and summer and fall. To everything turn, turn, turn.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more; I've written about this before on my own blog. We are the only mammals I can think of that try to maintain the same pace during the winter months. All the other mammals hibernate, or rest, or do other things to conserve energy and just wait it out. I think we could learn a few things from our fellow mammals...

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