Around here, we’re approaching winter. I don’t mind the snow…when it’s just a picturesque view from inside my warm home. I enjoy nature’s frosting, to a point. When does the affection diverge into disdain? Volume. Too many cute snowflakes congregating at once. And I know I’m not alone.
Mixed in with my complaining, there IS gratitude. We don’t deal with hurricanes in these parts. And earthquakes, although not unheard of, are uncommon. Sure, we’ve got spring tornadoes, reminding us of mother nature’s Midwest fury. Even so, I think my biggest whining tendency comes from this: Snow can be measured…not just in inches but also in months. The ‘dark days’ of winter can be comforting…I enjoy cocooning as a concept but not as forced hibernation. It’s the months and months…from here to March that are mind-numbing.
My antidotes? Fresh air when it’s reasonable. Yep, I’m the one opening the house and turning down the furnace if the thermometer registers in the mid-forties or higher. My mother-in-law professed the urgency of ‘airing out’ in the winter – whenever possible. I like that philosophy and it must help to shoo errant cold germs or other cooties out, right? I just tell the other occupants to layer up for a bit…and I ignore the fussing.
Nimble on my feet? So important – while navigating any slippery surface. Not just driving. Actually, driving is the least of my concerns. I have a history of klutziness and know too many friends who’ve suffered horrific tumbles…spontaneous, unintended acrobatics… more so than fender benders. One moment they’re UP – moving through their day – and in a nano-second, they’re on the ground…or at the bottom of a flight of stairs (or in my case, choral risers…oy!).
Winter reminds me that “slippery” isn’t just about snow and ice. Slippery, dangerous territory is everywhere as we navigate daily life, especially for loved ones – near and far, old and new – who face chronic health and mobility challenges. My complaining about snow and ice? Shut my mouth. As soon as I think it, I’m ashamed – thinking about dear ones who navigate the same terrain in wheelchairs or with other mobility aids. Transferring from chair to car in inclement weather? Treacherous.
My dad often said to my mom, ‘Slow down…just slow down…for the love of God, slow down’. She was a whirling dervish on two feet, for sure. No matter what she was doing in the moment, her head was typically miles down the road. Which leads me to a new mantra, actually a couple of them. I like the idea of reminding myself, every morning, to keep my mind and body unified, self-talk style. Like this:
Let’s not get ahead of one another other, okay guys? Let’s move in unison. Mind? You want to wander, free-range? No problem. Do that during meditative moments, not when we’re in motion. Body? You want to do three things at once? Who do you think you’re dealing with here? One thing at a time. One thing at a time.
The inner dialogue is surprisingly reassuring. If I listen. So, I’m trying – and the other mantra that matters…at the moment…is the reminder to be more of a mono-tasker than a multi-tasker. Good advice for this winter-averse human who’d like to keep all of her parts in reasonably good working order.
And just for fun? This post brought a soundtrack with it – one of my favorite Jack White and the Raconteurs tunes. Here’s to a retro dance break…shake it, friends…find your morning garage band groove with me.
From me to you…let your spirit soar…Steady As She Goes.