My heart sank when I heard the forecast. Yet another winter storm was on its way – six to ten inches predicted with temperatures dropping to around 4°F.
Well, the snow came, and for once it doesn’t seem quite a bad as the hype. We only got about three to four inches, though it is icy and absolutely freezing.
This seemingly interminable winter is really starting to bother me – actually it’s been bothering me for a while now. It challenges me in all sorts of ways.
Here are a few of them:
- I am frustrated at being unable to walk outside every day. Or if I do walk, I am frustrated about not being able to build up a nice pace, enjoying the movement. The snow and ice laden walkways and roads limit my ability to move as freely and easily, or as much, as I would like.
- I am dismayed at the extreme cold temperatures we’ve been experiencing, which limits how much time I want to spend outside, or adds another obstacle to my enjoyment of the walk, when I do venture out.
- ICE. Both walking on ice, and also anticipating walking on ice, are hugely challenging to the way I coordinate myself. I feel tension rising at the mere thought that there is a possibility of ice underfoot, when often (though not always) there is none. I know that excess tension will not help me balance better on the ice – in fact it will likely do the opposite, as inappropriate tension literally pulls you out of balance. I pause, then direct myself to let go of the tension, to release my breath, with only limited success. This is a work in progress, and (unfortunately) I have lots of opportunity to practice!
- My schedule, and everyone else’s around here, has been severely disrupted. There have been cancellations galore and we scramble to reschedule, and then reschedule again. The school system has had so many snow days they are looking at adding days at the end of the school year.
- Shoveling, and more shoveling. We are getting used to this. Fortunately I have two able-bodied men in the house who do the brunt of this work (many thanks to my husband, Andy, and my son, Thomas). When I do lend a hand, I’m happy to have my knowledge of the Alexander Technique to help me use my body in the best way possible.
My biggest overall challenge, however, which filters into all the rest, is my reaction to the thought of snow, both anticipated, and the real stuff outside my window. Though perhaps best known for how it helps improve posture and freedom of movement, Alexander Technique, when you get right down to it, is all about how we react to stimuli – do we tense up or free up? Through Alexander Technique we gain greater awareness of our thoughts and feelings, along with the ability to step back and just observe them. With that awareness comes the opportunity to make choices.
I want to make clear that this is not about putting on a brave face, while seething with tension and feelings of frustration, annoyance, misery, you name it, underneath. Rather, this act of awareness allows us to acknowledge our true feelings. And with that awareness I can choose to not let my “frustration” with the weather (over which I have no control) take over. I can acknowledge, even embrace, that yes, I am thoroughly sick of the snow.
I choose, however, not to devote (much!) energy on this. As I am aware of my feelings, and the accompanying thoughts and tensions, I can choose to remember what I am grateful for – a warm house, phones and the internet which make rescheduling easy, more time with my family on snow days. I can choose to remember that my body can be free and open, and that I am free to direct myself in productive and healthy ways. There are moments when I choose to vent, but many others when I choose to use my time productively, with openness and ease.
I even find moments when I laugh about it!
How are you coping this winter? What do you do in the face of a situation you cannot change? Do you have strategies that work for you? Please leave your comment in the space below. I’d love to hear from you.