Repeat this mantra 5 times: I AM enjoying the season. (And repeat it whenever you are feeling overwhelmed.
I chose my Book of Hours quote based on this affirmation:
“Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience.” – C.S. Lewis
A simple prompt today that had me reflect on what I was feeling in that moment and to look for rays of light that reminded me to enjoy the season.
For the first time in days, the sun was out. The sunlight streamed through my window, into my bedroom, and on to my face. Grey days are still hard for me. I am not going to sit here and complain. I really just want to be honest. I have tried to change my perception of them as I light candles and as I see them as an opportunity to go inward and slow down. I have tried to make the best of it by heading outside. I have tried to love the chilly, the grey, and the damp. We have cozied up at home with books and hot cocoa.
After 37 years of living in this climate, I have come to accept that I just don’t feel the same way about cold and grey days as I do about the days filled with sun. After a few grey days in a row, despite the moderate temperatures, I had to use every tool in my wellness toolkit to want to get out of bed – vitamin D, green juices, yoga, pilates, strength training, outdoor sit spots, walks, spiritual reading, writing morning pages, creating, chocolate, coffee, playing music, dancing and even singing. Sometimes none of it works. Sometimes I am angry and impatient. Sometimes I feel like a dark cloud expelling all the light in the room. I don’t have an answer. All I can do now is not give up on trying every tool at my disposal or expect each grey day to swallow me up. I no longer resist them or despair over them but I don’t try to love them either.
In past years, I have felt the pressure to love winter weather. I have felt shamed for not embracing it as others do.
I have questioned my “Canadian-ness.”
I have been outside hiking with my children in all sorts of weather. I have carried a baby, dragged a toddler and kept up with my other children through snow, sleet, and rain just to prove to myself that I can do it and to not hand down my winter hang-ups to my own children. But still, I have no love for the cold. Now I don’t want to force it because if I come up short then there’s a chance that guilt over not being a winter lover will cast its own cold shadow over me.
Today the sun came out. It truly felt like “pure and spontaneous pleasure.” And that’s what happened with our day. I took the kids for a “penny walk.” We flipped a coin at each street to see if we would go right or left. Our coin flips actually led us back home. During our walk, we noticed that our neighbourhood outdoor skating rink was open and empty. The kids wanted to skate but I wasn’t sure if everyone had skates that fit. We managed to find skates that fit everyone. We skated. None of this was planned.
Last year we went to Costa Rica for a month and I was a different person according to my husband. This year we plan to leave for two months. I accept that I am a creature of heat and humidity. It has never been too hot for me here. As a first generation Canadian who has struggled with embracing winter with open arms, I wonder if it’s just my body’s way of reminding me of where I come from and who I am. My children are different. The are a generation further removed from the land of their ancestors. They are excited about our trip but are sad to miss most of the skating season and the snow.
Now that I will practice this mantra regularly, I wonder if I will be able to find “patches of godlight” in my own dark wood. Can I see them on the grey days (the literal and the figurative) and even more importantly, can I be gentler with myself when I don’t?