Friday, February 22, 2008

Winter Wonderland

If you live in the Northeast, you are probably experiencing a very snowy day. I live in Boston, where it has been snowing since dawn. The snow was light, but steady, until about 3:00 PM when it began falling more heavily, and as of 9:15 PM, the city is fully covered under a blanket of snow, approximately 7 inches thick and the snow continues to fall. As children, snow meant a possible day off from school and a chance to play outside, build snowmen, go sledding and maybe have a friendly snowball fight. In our younger days, we were excited at what this winter weather meant for us. As adults, however, the snow becomes an inconvenience; we all endure a longer and more stressful commute (whether you walk, drive, bike ride or use public transportation), we're assigned shoveling duty and for city dwellers who own a car, it can mean having to suddenly find something to do with your car, when the city declares a snow emergency and you have to move it off the road. Next time you find yourself feeling inconvenienced with the snow, slow down and appreciate it for it's beauty and it's wonder. Focus on it's positive attributes, instead of looking at how it may be negatively impacting you. This is Mother Nature at work and snow is winter's gift.

DailyOM has a great perspective on winter and reading this may help you appreciate this chilly season:

Stoking The Inner Fire: Turning Inward During Winter

In the depths of winter, we can forget that bare trees will once again be full with foliage, and grass and flowers hidden beneath a blanket of white or a deceptive covering of hardened earth will burst forth once again. While they slumber, nature is continuing its work at the center of each living thing. We can think of our blankets and warm clothes as similar protection—like the cocoon that surrounds a changing caterpillar—while we undergo our own inner transformational work. In the meantime, the lights that twinkle and the fires that warm us can serve to remind us of the flame of life that burns within us.

In order to stoke our inner flame, we can use the time indoors to focus our attention on our homes and families. We can become distracted by the world outside and forget that we need to nourish the lights that warm our hearts. Interacting at a soul level can be done by sharing stories from our hearts, doing projects together, dancing, or playing games. Devoting energy this way helps us build a stronger bond that will sustain us once the world allows us each to pursue our individual goals again.

Winter allows us to feed the flame in our own centers by reading or researching to nourish our dreams and plans for the future. This can mean catching up on all the quieter things we wanted to do but didn’t have time for, like reading books, watching movies, or listening to music. We may have set aside creative pursuits such as painting or writing that can be brought back to the center burner now. It is also a great time to do some journaling to look back on the year that has passed and perhaps the years before this one in preparation for forward motion in the coming year. Nature’s wisdom offers us opportunities to nourish our inner seeds of hope in preparation for our future, so let us enjoy the inner warmth and be grateful for it all.

Note: This appeared in DailyOM on January 9, 2008.

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