As I type this, the East Coast of the United States is being hammered by a huge snow storm, just looking out my window I see a good foot of snow that will need to be moved at some point if we wish to exit our house but at the moment I am in no rush. There is more snow expected, the wind is blowing and shit its cold. I heard the storm was approaching a good 24 hours before it hit so I went out yesterday made sure we were fully stocked and prepared for a change in plans this week. In other words sit down and relax because when Mother Nature decides to flex her muscles there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it.
I won’t lie; it took me a while to reach this point. Coming from Chicago where we are used to fierce winter weather and snow rarely did make us slow down. I still remember the day some years ago I was slated to start a new job and the city was walloped with snow and my new boss was mad that after I stood and waited an hour and a half in the snow for a bus that never came, I went back home and explained that I could not make it in. Looking back I am still shaking my head over that incident but at the time I was living in that matrix of rush rush and took it as a human failing that I couldn’t walk the mile to the train to make it in my first day.
Yet last night and this morning as I spent time on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and even flipping on CNN, its clear that many folks just don’t know how to slow down even when there is a blinking neon sign in this case snow telling us to do so. Instead we whip ourselves into frenzy over what we can’t do because we are snowbound, not realizing that days like this are a gift. Life is short and while we live a fast paced high tech life the fact is all our days are limited. Just last night the world learned that Teena Marie the amazing soul singer died at the seemingly young age of 54. 54 may seem young yet since very few people actually live to oh say 108, 54 is not that young. More importantly is that despite the fact many of us do live longer thanks to medical intervention; funny thing about life is no one knows when their last day on this planet will be.
No, we lead busy lives sometimes never hearing our own thoughts and emotions because we are constantly plugged in, multi-tasking and planning ahead. So when we encounter a day that forces us to slow down, it challenges us. Obviously if you had to head into work today, you do what you have to do, yet if the snow has given you the gift of a day off, revel in it. I posted earlier today on Twitter, go out and play in that snow even if you don’t have kids. When is the last time you had a snowball fight? Made a snow angel? Sounds hokey as hell but a few winters ago I surrendered to a snow day and in the end got pelted with snow, made a snow angel and basically reconnected with that little girl I forgot all about.
So many of us are stressed and even burnt out as we juggle competing demands from bosses, kids, lovers, and the list goes on. So we turn to yoga, meditation, therapy, even medicine and as someone who has used all these items to deal with stress in my own life so I have no issues with them but we fail to see the beauty in free time. True free time, unscheduled days where we have no plans other than to live in the moment and take whatever comes our way in that moment. So if you are feeling stressed about the snow, I suggest you release, relax and enjoy the moment. Even if you are stuck in an airport trying to get home, rather than seeing the inconvenience of the moment, look at what you do have…see it as a chance for unplanned opportunities.