The snow is falling heavy and thick this afternoon. It is filling in all of the steps we took this morning and burying further the lawn, snow forts, and snow people built just this weekend. The snow is elegant and slow-falling but it is thorough in its work, coving every branch, driveway, and surface it meets. It reminds me to be grateful of all that we are right now – everything changes so quickly.
It occurs to me that in my January posts I wrote a lot about resolutions and how to make the most of the year to come. And while these steps are important and necessary, I don’t want to suggest that who we are and where we are right now is in any need of change or modification.
In the midst of COVID, we have become more focused on self-care. We are recognizing that health, both physical and mental, requires daily investment and accountability. However, part of caring for ourselves is going easy on ourselves. We are in the midst of a pandemic, and a very real snowstorm and there is no more powerful reminder of how tender we need to be than driving in the snow. We cannot stop completely for every sign. We cruise through unplowed roads, considering if the turn can be done before another car comes towards us in onward traffic or if the car behind us will have time to stop. Then having made the calculation and the turn, we pray that our own tires will be sure in their connection to the road, that the momentum of our wheels will take us directly downhill and not send us skidding off course into someone’s lawn or worse yet, some obstruction that cannot be moved, the curb, or a tree – they are so beautiful this time of year.
The beauty of the snowfall is its gentle nature, but snow is also a force to be recovered with even in small amounts. You will not rush to go anywhere in a snowstorm, even the mailbox requires a steady and slow step.
Making changes in our lives can be wonderful and inspirational. However, I hope you undertake these modifications with the same slow pace and caution you would use to drive in the snow or walk downhill in fresh powder. Take your time, be patient, and gentle with yourself as you would the accelerator. Tenderness towards yourself is not something to be earned or apologized for – we are all going through a hell of a year, we are entering year three of Covid-19 and we are already doing enough. Supply chain demands, illness, and the very real mental strain this pandemic has put on all of us cannot be overestimated. We are all being deeply impacted and changed by this disease, and we are all transforming.
We do not need to hold ourselves to the standards or timelines of the past. And I hope you know this in your heart, hope you realize that living with urgency is not as necessary as living with intention. That being patient and kind to yourself helps the world. When we are kinder to ourselves we show others how they may be more gentle to themselves and to others. Every act of tender self-care is an act of defiance and I hope you leave some wiggle room in your resolutions for ease.
I hope you release yourself from the demands of performative progress. We are all transforming under this blanket of snow. We may be hibernating and stuck inside for a while longer but much like trees who loose their leaves in the fall, we are not dead, but only waiting for the spring to show all that we’ve been working on this winter. Be gentle with yourselves, cozy up by the fire, make a hot chocolate, watch the snowfall and bake cookies. It may be a new year but it is also a long journey and if we don’t stop to take care of ourselves we’ll never finish the race. Shovel the walk before you go to get the mail, take your time, it’s a beautiful time of year, if we only stop to savor it.