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Posts from the ‘Winter’ Category

And So It Returns

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” – John Ruskin

“We were not sent into this world to do anything into which we cannot put our hearts.” ― John Ruskin

Over the past week, we’ve been enjoying 40-degree temperature days after two weeks of continuous -20 degree days. The paths at Como Lake were packed yesterday, people wearing shorts, lots of runners and walkers. We get out several times a week year-round and the paths during winter are wide-open, plenty of room to roam. As soon as a nice day hits, there are “traffic jams,” smiling crowds as attitudes shift from “winter angst” to “spring delight.” The weather has that much control over our outlook.

The only way to not only survive winter but to thrive in it is to get out right into the middle of it, finding and making joy in all seasons of life. Forgoing four months for winter or a year for a pandemic? I don’t get it and I don’t want to.

Life is happening regardless of weather, our circumstances and even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. It is certainly not our choice and it has been an unpredictable, uncertain, unprecedented year without a doubt. But we don’t get time back, so we need to treat it with the respect it deserves, honor it, make the best of each day.

Blessings and burdens coexist, always have and always will. Each day offers gifts even in and perhaps especially during difficult seasons if we choose to look, be open and accept them. For me, deep gratitude, joy and awareness of how, why, what, where and who I spend my time with has been the blessing this year.

We are placed where we need to be whether we understand it or not. In difficult times, in our winters, it is hard to understand. We are called deeper to meaning and purpose. Go beyond dismissing, mourning and lamenting to enter praise, gratitude and joy.

It’s February about to fall into March. It would be foolish to think that this swath of spring would remain, but winter is on its way out. Seasons come and go. Time has not stopped so follow suit and keep going.

Now, time to get out for some snowshoeing.

“It is written on the arched sky; it looks out from every star. It is the poetry of Nature; it is that which uplifts the spirit within us.” – John Ruskin

To Live Again

“The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.” – Jean Giraudoux

“Music comes from an icicle as it melts, to live again as spring water.” – Henry Williamson

Spring is in the air, if only but for a moment. After two weeks of way below zero temperatures, we are getting two days of 40 degrees, a glimpse of the next season, a sneak preview in February. The slow melt of snow to water, ice to puddles, skating rinks returning to lakes. While the cold air of winter lingers, the sun and longer days take center stage to remind us of the certainty of seasons.

Glimpses, beams and threads are woven into the fabric of each day to pull us through winters, delays and desert time. Gifts of hope, inviting and guiding us beneath the surface of the obvious, beyond the oblivious and rush of mere activity into the deep waters of gratitude, grace and awe.

Examine, observe and absorb the sheer beauty in the petals of a flower, revealing complexity and simplicity in creation, in a single moment.

Winter is sure to return to finish its job, offering its final gifts of quiet preparation and dormancy to prepare for the emergence and awakening of spring bud and bloom. Open the gifts of each season, make each day holy with open arms and a grateful heart.

“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.” – Bernard Williams

Steep

“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Tea time is a chance to slow down, pull back and appreciate our surroundings.” – Letitia Baldrige

It’s going to break into the teens today and 20s this weekend. After two weeks of below zero temps, 20s will be balmy. Dog parking, snowshoeing and running will commence today with a deeper gratitude and appreciation for the outdoors.

The past year of a pandemic, weeks of below zero and weather extremes across the country have steeped us like teabags in hot water. It’s been long enough, the tea leaves have dissipated in the water, there’s no flavor left, pull us out already. The tea is dark and strong.

Our timing and God’s timing are rarely in sync, and God is always on time. While steeped and stuck in the hot water, in the desert and winters of life, rather than longing to be pulled out already, perhaps the answer lies in us listening quietly, observing with rapt attention and opening up our being to receive the cues, clues and signs that we are surrounded with in this present moment.

We have had a combination bootcamp/master class this year in self-awareness and gratitude, the first ingredients to empathy and transformation – the ability to go outside ourselves and see our connectedness to others, awakening to our shared path and grateful for what already is present. Rather than pass hard and fast on the left in a rush to what’s next and new, we can move alongside each other and continue our journey together on our journey to return home to authentic self and becoming.

The only way to the other side is right through the middle. Not around or about but through. We fritter away a lot of time looking for shortcuts and loopholes rather than do the root work of seed germination that’s required to break ground, unfold into bud and burst into beautiful bloom.

Do not forgo this time. Go deep until the tea bag has expended all the flavor into the water. Steep and when it’s time, savor.

Snow or Snowman

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

It snowed this week, and the lamenting began. Snow in October? It’s too early. Winter is going to be too long. One more thing in a year of constant change, fear and uncertainty. What’s next? (I have my money on the locusts.) No doubt if there ever was a year in recent history to complain, worry and be cynical about, 2020 is the winner.

We believe that things happen “to” us rather than “for” us. A simple yet profound shift from “to” to “for.” Just because we don’t understand “why” doesn’t mean there’s not a reason, one that will be revealed in time with the requirement of perspective, distance and reflection.

We forgo today’s opportunity for joy and meaning in pursuit of the illusive and perfect “someday” which does not exist or the “past” where we remember only but a slice that serves our narrative of the “good old days.”

In addition to the snow this week, it was a week filled with non-stop technology problems at work. Like the weather, also out of our control. My nephew Liam came over Thursday for a few hours. He immediately asked me to go out to build a snowman and make snow angels.

Kids, in their infinite wisdom until we screw them up with “adulting,” see the snowman and the angels in an October snow. They run into it rather than away from it. They see the “for” rather than the “to.” The early snow happened for them so they could build a snowman and lay staring up at the sky moving their legs and arms in delight to bring angels to earth.

The choice each of us needs to make daily is whether we see the snow or the snowman. It determines whether we will live present in each moment grateful for the gifts and blessings that we are swimming in, even in a pandemic. “to” or “for”? I’m going for the “for” rather than “to” as much as I can. And when I forget, I have a snowman and snow angel from my 4 year old life coach Liam to remind me of the best choice of “for.”

Beneath and Beyond

“The Amen of nature is always a flower.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

“The hidden harmony is better than the obvious.” – Heraclitus

Beneath the fresh clean snow, each flower prepares in silence;
Beyond the frigid temperatures, the ground rests patiently for spring;

Beneath and beyond this moment, you are being prepared and cultivated for your unfolding, becoming and blooming;

Beneath and beyond your knowing is a certainty that all is well and as it should be;
Patience breaks ground revealing hidden harmony.

Beneath and beyond.

 

Wonder Knows No Seasons, No Age

“Wonder knows that while you cannot look at the light, you cannot look at anything else without it. It is not exhausted by childhood, but finds its key there. It is a journey like a walk through the woods over the usual obstacles and around the common distractions while the voice of direction leads, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’” – Ravi Zacharias

Wonder is all around, open your eyes;
A symphony in the quiet, listen carefully;
The sun remains while clouds come and go, wait patiently;
Spring prepares in the dormancy of winter, take rest;
Obstacles, distractions and delays, carry on;
Wonder knows no seasons, no age;
Available to all;
Enter into wonder;
Genius and Divinity.

Get on with it.

“Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.” – Henry David Thoreau

First Real Snow

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”― Lewis Carroll

“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.” – John Burroughs

This morning we got our first real snow. The snow that’s heavy, plowable and will probably be the base snow that will remain until April. The proclamation that Fall has officially done its job and it’s winter’s turn. Transition time over.

It’s beautiful, fresh, clean and a big inconvenience on the busiest travel day of the year as we kick off six weeks of holiday busyness.

This kind of snow slows us down. And there in lies the gift.

Slow down and celebrate the gifts that you already have right now. Not the ones you’ll race to get on Black Friday. Don’t miss what already is present in search of presents that can never replace a long meaningful conversation, a call or text to check in on someone who’s lost someone this year and this is the first holiday without a loved one, a hug that softly whispers “you’re not alone, and it’s going to be alright.”

Be grateful for all that is, was and will come. God weaves life with both struggle and awe. So often, we only see the struggle and miss the awe. Abundance is an attitude and awareness, not a bank account and pile of gifts. Gratitude is the best gift you can give and receive.

Even in Minnesota, when we know that winter never skips a turn, we are taken back when it hits. So rather than enjoying the beauty and slowing that winter brings, we shift our attention to what we can’t control – the weather – and the complaining ensues.

Abby and Sasha had the appropriate response to the snow this morning. They leaped, created new paths and chased each other, rolling in delight. They saw the gift immediately.

Happy Thanksgiving and may you be grateful each day for your blessings that are hiding right in front of you. Slow down and go make some snow angels.

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” – George Santayana

Acclimate

“Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm. Philosophies fall away like sand, creeds follow one another, but what is beautiful is a joy for all seasons, a possession for all eternity.” – Oscar Wilde

As I was cutting the grass yesterday, it started to snow. While running this morning, it was snowing and there was wind chill which usually doesn’t enter the picture until the end of November.

In Minnesota, we are used to cold winters, but that first blast of cold is always the hardest. Your body needs to acclimate to the new normal. A month from now, we’ll be longing for a 24 degrees with wind chill.

The sooner we acclimate to the transitions in our life, the sooner we can enjoy the gifts of the next season. If the past is holding you back or you feel stuck in transition mode, let go of what’s no longer necessary and embrace what is and where you are right now. Today is all that is promised – enjoy it, even an early snow!

“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” – Zhuangzi

Winter, Again

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

We often think that we are done with something, it’s over, and then it comes back again. Sometimes finishing takes a bit longer and it’s more of a circular rather than linear path.

We allow outside circumstances and people to limit and control our own outlook, keeping us from seeing the full beautiful, complicated view. Our outlook begins and always remains with what’s inside. We own it. Our view of the world is in our hands not others so stop trying to pass off the responsibility of ownership.

Kids have their Ph.D. in a joyful perspective, and so many other areas as well – multidisciplinary to be sure. They know how to suck the most out the present moment and simply engage in possibility.

It’s the second week of April, the start of Spring. And, yep, one more round of winter. From 50s to snow, ice and cold. When visiting my nephew Liam yesterday, I asked him if he wanted to build a snowman. It took 10 seconds for him to rush the closet in search of his boots. And being the sweet, intuitive guy that he is, he handed me a hat from the hat bin before he put on his own to ensure I was prepared for this adventure as well.

And thus the launching of a special memory and actual fun amidst the “catastrophe” of winter’s return. We can flip our perspective in but a minute and turn our winters into “invincible” summers by doing the opposite of our natural inclination to complain. Dive in and make some fun.

Snow? Go build a snowman. Rain? Go dance in it. Sun? Go soak it in to refill your inner light.

Winter, again? Preparing for the brightest of Spring blooms. Start budding.

 

Spring Confetti

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party!’”— Robin Williams

“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.”— Gertrude S. Wister

It always takes longer than we want, but the snow always melts. Winter releases into spring inviting the flowers to awaken and work their way through the frozen ground. With a slow and steady thaw, the gifts of spring unfold and ensue. Suddenly the birds are singing with glee and nature awakens to a new season inviting us to join the party. Winter bids adieu making way for spring to make its long anticipated entrance.

Many gifts appeared for the girls this week as the sun did it’s work on the thaw revealing a few dozen balls, bones and toys trapped by the grip of last bit of ice. A bouquet of balls and confetti celebration welcoming long days ahead to soak up the sun, chase balls and delight in outside endeavors.

We can even enjoy winter while going through when we trust that spring always awaits our arrival in due time, filled with the promise of transformation and celebration of fruition. Winter builds resilience, spring is the reward. Let’s party.

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