Stuck in the storm…

It is January 6, 2017, twenty-four years ago today I moved to Boise, Idaho. Looking out my window I smile, for it looks much like it did back then, lots of crisp sparkling snow blankets the earth. In 1993 I looked out my window at the soft glorious mountains that surrounded my home; they were dancing in the hibernation of winter. Today I look out my window at a frozen pond to observe the release of snow from burdened branches on  nearby trees, they sigh as the morning sun strikes their arms. Rarely does the city of Boise find itself wading through drifts of snow – one who lives here goes to the mountains for such winter play.

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“There is peace even in the storm” ― Vincent Van Gogh, The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh

Twenty-four years ago I got stuck trying to drive up the mountain to our new home, today I got stuck trying to drive out of the cul-de-sac which has not been cleared. Back then it was my “stupidity” for not making sure the truck was in four-wheel drive, today it is because the city is not prepared to handle the impacts of such white abundance.

I have been stuck for three days now, grateful to the very bone for the fact that I work from home, thus I do not need to go out into the chaos to dodge the next sliding car. Fortunately for me my kids are with their dad who has the four-wheel drive truck and lives on a more traveled street – however, they return tomorrow, thus the crumbs that live in the cupboard and the scraps in the fridge will not suffice, nor keep them nourished. I must hasten out of my snow cave to brave the piles of mushed up snow in an attempt to plow through the ruts as the person before me.

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“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Being “stuck in the storm” right after returning home from our Christmas holiday in Michigan has been profound, for it has forced me to sit with myself, to dig deep, to search, to heal, and to awaken in new faith and love. In the silence I have watched the swirling of the wind upon the heavy branches of nearby trees, I have observed the geese, ducks, eagles, herons, hawks, and squirrels as they go about surviving in the cold and layered whiteness. I have felt my breath create tiny icicle particulates upon the ends of my hair as I scuffle through the fluffy winter coat, seeing my breath in the -6 degrees Fahrenheit I smile, for beneath it all there is vibrant life. You can feel it there, all the trees, rocks and creatures await its awakening, for they know with patience it will become, with determination and perseverance it will again be giving life in grand abundance.

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Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

Nature offers us such wisdom, yet we are typically not patient, determined or willing to persevere – instead we push, we force, and we work against the natural flow. Recently I opened the pages of my well worn book, “Walden”, by Henry David Thoreau. Glancing at the passages I had highlighted I marveled at how his observances of humanity in the mid 1800s is still what resides today – perhaps on a grander more confused scale. One of my favorite sections is as follows:

“However, if one designs to construct a dwelling-house it behooves him to exercise a little Yankee shrewdness, lest after all he find himself in a workhouse, a labyrinth without a clue, a museum, an almshouse, a prison, or a splendid mausoleum instead.  Consider first how slight a shelter is absolutely necessary.”

A bit further down the page –

“Many a man is harassed to death to pay the rent of a larger and more luxurious box who would not have frozen to death in such a box as this. I am far from jesting. Economy is a subject which admits of being treated with levity, but it cannot so be disposed of. A comfortable house for a rude and hardy race, that lived mostly out of doors, was once made here almost entirely of such materials as Nature furnished ready to their hands.”

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After every storm the sun will smile; for every problem there is a solution, and the soul’s indefeasible duty is to be of good cheer. ~William R. Alger

Our “boxes” and “burdens” grow fiercely in a world where humanity is always chasing what will make them happy next. Sadly the new boxes and things only bring joy for a brief time, yet to have them and keep them we must toil, we must sacrifice time with those we love; we consciously choose to have it become our “splendid mausoleum”. We glance into the rear-view mirror of our perfectly manicured Hummer to see that it all passed us by, the eyes that look back at us are sad, enclosed by wrinkles and haloed by grey hair – the time to dance is past.

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Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. ~Albert Einstein

During this time of “stuck-ness” so freshly in the New Year I ask myself in the silence of my patience, why do humans repeat their patterns century after century? We “teach history” in our schools, so that we will not repeat our mistakes, yet soon we will change the tapestry of another country with our “western advancement”, “civilizing” a savage culture to join us in our obesity, our discontent, our anxiousness and our ever expanding depression. Thoreau like Socrates, Plato, Einstein, and so many others have tried to share the truths, the patterns, the lessons and wisdom. Our ears seem plugged from the buzz of mass chaos which keeps us distracted and in the pursuit of grander “boxes” and possessions that will surely make us happier, right???

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Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. ~Mahatma Gandhi

In the eyes of many I have “nothing” – I do not own a home, do not own my car (the bank does), our clothes are second hand (except for gifted ones), I have no savings or retirement portfolio.., however I am immensely and profoundly rich!! I sit in a home we are blessed to house sit; it is tucked in the quiet arm of nature – reminding me daily of that which is true and important. We have access to local food which keeps us wealthily healthy from within. I am graced with friends and family who love and support us. I daily wake up to pursue with passion my dreams, to joyously serve others, to be the safe place for anyone seeking to be their truth. I dance in the constant ever present joy life is! I know that like the winter, my “new life” is budding from within – soon it will spring forth in full abundance.

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Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship. ~Buddha

Today I celebrate in the sunlight which juxtapositions itself upon the frigid white sparkles. I laugh with the ducks and geese floating by on the dark slow river. I hold myself open with love to the pure potential of change, for it is ever constant. Impermanence is guaranteed, uncertainty reins, we all have two things in common – we are born and we shall die – how we choose to live in our moments from start to finish is that which we have control of.., nothing more.  I take a deep breath in gratitude for the storm – like the Grinch, my heart continues to expand. What comes next, I do not know. Will my business prosper, grow and become, I do not know. Will my books one day grace your home or kindle, I do not know. I do know I must try! I must not give up!

How are you going to live your moments in 2017? Full of excuses or impassioned by loving purpose?

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You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ~Mahatma Gandhi

I shall conclude this post with more wise words from Thoreau –

 “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats.”

“What a man thinks of himself, that is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.”

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