I know that I’m not the only one who finds winter weather less than ideal. Not the actual weather, really, but the diminished hours of light caused by our location on this planet. The more extreme cases of this condition are common enough to generate a name: seasonal affective disorder or, SAD for short. And, of course, once it has a name, it needs to be “fixed,” and there are antidotes for sale – lamps, vitamins, and various mental and emotional therapies.
My situation is certainly not that serious, however I do notice that I tend to slide more easily into a pattern of reduced activity and, worse, complaining about “the weather.” Since I have lately become more conscious of my choices, it has finally dawned on me that in this area, too, I have choice. Once I became mindful of alternatives, they seemed to multiply and present themselves almost daily.
Instead of huddling inside, try embracing the outdoors. Yes, dancing through the winter requires that we actually experience it! Believe it or not, there are lots of wonderful activities waiting for us outdoors in the winter. You will need appropriate clothing, of course, because if you’re not comfortable, you will find excuses not to get out. The easiest way to start is to go for a walk, yes, even in the rain. Notice your inner chatter. Is there any real reason why walking in the rain should be a negative experience? Go down by the ocean and watch the sea birds – they thrive no matter what. Notice the colours in the rocks that stand out against the grey background. Notice the waves, and their rhythm. Especially in a storm, the ocean is an exciting place to be in the winter. Walk over to a friend’s house and get them to go with you, making a visit out of your walk.
Got a bike? I have a friend who rides her bike in all but the most extreme weather. She has proper gear, and doesn’t seem to get any wetter than the rest of us, and she has a big smile.
If you’re fortunate enough to find your way up to the snow, get on skis or snow shoes and meet winter more than halfway. I find cross-country skiing my preferred contemplative activity in the winter – the quiet, the scenery, all come together with left foot – right foot – left foot – right foot. I can’t help but feel that I am completely engaged with Spirit in the world. My body responds to the fresh air and exertion, my mind is constantly receiving new and creative ideas. This is a far cry from sitting indoors wishing I were somewhere else on the planet.
There are many other ways to dance through the winter, and I invite you to try them out. You don’t have to be an expert at any of them, but you do have to be willing to have fun. Honour your choices, and dance through this winter in your own way.
Jean Wrohan is a student of Science of Mind, and a Nia instructor in Campbell River. “In movement we find health”.