I have a secret for you. You can walk outside every day. Sounds crazy in blistering cold weather? Well, once you do it, it is not so bad.
If we listen, our body always tells us what we need. It tells us when we are hungry or full, when we are cold and hot, when we need water or need to get away from a situation. It tells us when we are tense and when we are happy, and it is to our great fortune to listen carefully.
In today’s meditation we will be bringing our awareness into different parts of the body.
What do you hear when you listen to your body? What is it saying to you?
Me? My body needs warmth. But my body also needs nature. I need to walk outside.
Read this essay published October 29 in Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle , this week in my local paper:
Jodi Aman of Irondequoit won’t be singing the winter blues
Even though I avoid being cold at all costs, the imminence of the coming Rochester winter has not filled me with dread like it used to. A decade ago, I would have felt trapped inside on a cold winter day, only braving the subzero temperatures to make the mad dash to and from my car when I had to go somewhere. Feeling blue because I wanted to be outdoors and close to nature, I would sit, practically immobilized, impatient for spring to spring.
This year, though, I will be free from the icicle prison. I won’t have to kiss nature goodbye or watch it forlornly from my window for four months. No, I am not headed south for the winter. I am staying right here — and instead of whining, I will be smiling contently. The transformation from confinement to liberation happened by actually spending more time outside.
A few years ago, I noticed that the folks who participated in outdoor winter sports did not grumble as much as I did. So I joined their ranks and started walking in the woods several days a week.
My ritual promenade drastically changed my relationship with winter. Rejuvenated by nature, filled with serotonin released during the exercise and empowered by upholding my promise, my disposition now stays cheerful all winter long. Even when I am not walking, the travel to and from the car and my time outside caring for my chickens or playing with my kids is effortless despite the frigid temperatures. Effortless equals freedom.
How did I do it?
When we were researching building “green” a few years ago, we came across a metaphor used to describe how to conserve energy in homes built in harsh winter climates: Give it good boots, a good coat and a good hat. In other words, well insulate the floor, the walls and the roof. Applying this concept to myself, I invested in warm boots, a warm coat and a warm hat. This has made all the difference.
It sounds like an advertisement for outerwear, but it is not: I am promoting the free and ever-available nourishment the outdoors provides for the body and soul. I am no longer willing to be separated from my beloved trees or limited to stale air interiors for four months. Instead, I will again commit to dressing warm and to walk outside throughout the winter months.
Walk outside inspiration
I was surprised to have so many inspired responses to this article! I thought I’d share one with you. This is from Sue Staropoli, a good friend and consultant in the fields of holistic health and spirituality.
What a great article in the D & C!
It was enlightening and inspiring! – and it is motivating me to find out more about getting WARM clothes to insulate myself this winter so I can enjoy the awesome beauty of nature more and walk outside, as you described!
I have excellent long underwear, but would love to hear more about the outerwear you found for yourself – gloves, boots, hats, jacket, etc. – so I can have some guidance in my own search. Any thoughts would be helpful – what you got, where you got it, etc. What items have been the most helpful and would be the priorities for me to explore.
I have a long down coat with a hood (Eddie Bauers). I wear the hood over a wool hat lined with fleece. (At least at the beginning of a walk outside on the coldest days.) I wear a shirt and sweatshirt under the coat. I always wear snow pants over sweats and very warm water proof boots (Merril). Then, just the thickest gloves I can find! I often lose them, so they are nothing in particular. I hope this helps!
I went out today to my favorite shopping sites (Goodwill and VOA in Webster!) and was able to get a terrific Columbia jacket (with fleece liner, and much more!) and some snow pants! So that’s a start! I have many other layers to wear under them, including exceptional top and bottom longjohns, sweatshirts, warm sweaters, etc. so I’m on my way! I will see how I do with the gloves and hats I have already before I go buy anything else.
So thanks for your help!
We’ll see how this changes my outlook and experience of being outside in the cold weather!
Blessings to you as you bring so much Light into the world in so many ways!
My body needs warmth, what does your body need?