Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Winter Doldrums


I haven't seen the sun in four days. Four cloudy, gray, winter days. I feel groggy and unmotivated, never quite able to shake that foggy headed morning feeling. The last time it was sunny was in the middle of an exceptionally cold spell that lasted several days. Temperatures were in the single digits with night time lows well below zero, but still the sun was shining.That can make a big difference between winter feeling like a tolerable necessity rather than a constant state of gloom. Now we're up to a balmy thirty five degrees in the afternoon but still no sun! Even the dogs seem to grow weary of the long days indoors. They ask to go out, circle the icy patio and ask to come back in, where they lay on the doormat and peer into the yard as if they're watching for spring to arrive. It will be a long wait. Typically I'm not such a Debbie Downer when it comes to winter. Montana has a lot to offer during the snowy months (and there are many of them). Personally I find the mountains even more spectacular when they are snow covered. However when clouds settle in and disrupt the views for days at a time, it can be tough to remember why one chooses to live in such a place. I will remember why in February when I am skiing on a perfect blue bird day and my winter doldrums are long gone, or in June when I'm hiking in a field full of blooming wild flowers. So today I'll just stay inside with the dogs and take a nap.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


            We’re now five days into the New Year and I’m happy to say I’ve been sticking to my resolutions with relative ease. I made three resolutions for 2013:
1)    Write daily
2)    Meditate regularly
3)    Be kind to myself
These are personal goals I’ve had for a while but have had trouble sticking with for one reason or another. I figured a brand new year was a perfect time to change my habits. I spent the last couple weeks of December thinking about my goals and ways to go about meeting them and I feel The Universe has given me some hints that I’m headed in the right direction.
On New Year’s Day, I was in the mall (working on #3) when I came across a video game for my Xbox Kinect called “Deepak Chopra’s LEELA: mind, body, spirit, play”. At first glance it seemed cheesy (a meditation game? How is that even a thing?) but it was cheap and I decided to give it a try. I’ve played it a little each day and so far it seems neat. I haven’t had a change to unlock all the features but it provides me with time and space to settle my mind and that’s what I needed most.
Later that same afternoon I was  browsing in a bookstore. I wasn’t even looking for a writing book when I saw A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves and knew I had stumbled across something big. I’ve been looking for something similar for a long time and had even bought a couple other writing books but hadn’t found one that felt like the right fit. The book is a writing coach of sorts, providing advice, information and suggestions on how to make writing a priority in your life. What I thought was so great is that it is designed to give a year’s worth of guidance with one chapter for each month, breaking the information down into catergories and most important to me, it gives daily writing prompts that already have me writing about things outside of my normal comfort zone.
My third resolution is the hardest. The first two are straight forward, physical actions but being kind to yourself? Most people probably think they already do that. I know I thought I was. About half way through 2012, I started seeing a life coach and so far this one of the biggest realizations I’ve had during our work together. It’s interesting because I consider myself a kind person. I’m thoughtful and compassionate when it comes to other people and to animals but it seems I’m also pretty good at beating myself up. I’m starting to see how much time I’ve wasted “shoulding myself”, as I like to call it. I should keep my house clear, I should work out more, weigh less, be better at roller skating. I can’t even imagine how much time I’ve spent dwelling on just those issues alone, then add in my worries about my job, relationships, finances, etc.  I’m never doing exactly what I think I should be and it’s exhausting- no wonder I’m so tired all the time! Becoming aware of this has been a huge breakthrough for me and becoming aware is a first step to initiating change but after spending thirty-some years in a specific pattern, it’s though to know where to start to be different.
So I guess maybe that’s the sum of all my resolutions for this year: to work on being different, changing my patterns. I’ve already started and noticing change is the biggest motivator for making more. Because it’s really a big process and I’m proud of the fact that I’m even doing it.