Coating Winter with Love

Happy New Year dearheart,

Even though the winter solstice is a month behind us now and the days are getting longer again (bit by bit), we are in the deep of winter. The walking paths are covered in snow and the birds have vanished from my windows

After Christmas, there is a sparseness to the landscape that I enjoy, especially as I hibernate inside by the fire, but perhaps we sometimes internalize that sparse sensation to an extreme. We can feel that there is not enough. Not enough time. Not enough energy. Not enough sleep. Not enough daylight.

Or sometimes we can create sparseness (and starvation) after what we perceive as the “too much-ness” of the holidays. In practicing Loving Kindness, there is no punishing ourselves. There is no condemnation for not having exercised enough or for eating too much.

So often I hear people (women especially) beginning the year with statements like, “This is the year I should really get control of my life.” or “This year I ought to be more faithful to exercise and eat right.”

Instead of terms like “should” or “ought to,” Loving Kindness frames our thinking with questions like:

What do I want more of this year?

What brings me joy?

What would feel like love to me this year?

What would make life wonderful this year?

If you ask yourself these questions with love, you might find the answers bring the kind of wellness into your life that you crave AND that is good for your body and soul.

15 minutes of yoga can feel like a breath of life. An hour of reading with your favorite blanket, just for pleasure, can open your mind and heart afresh. Savoring a hot cup of your favorite tea can be as satisfying as a decadent meal.

Sometimes when I suggest to people to live life with more Loving Kindness, they think I am proposing we all just sit about on clouds painting smiles on our faces. But as I’ve said before, Loving Kindness is not “pie in the sky” thinking. To gaze upon yourself with Loving Kindness can be very hard. When you are used to listening to your inner critic, it can be quite challenging to pause that voice and replace it with pure love. It takes time and effort tap into what feels like love when we are accustomed to lists of do’s and don’ts.

It takes enormous courage to love. Loving Kindness is a bold and brave choice.

Take some time with a pen and paper and the questions above to see where Loving Kindness will lead you.

Maybe Loving Kindness looks like taking care of your beautiful self in a new way this year.

Is this the year you book a standing appointment for a weekly massage instead of waiting until you can hardly move to call and schedule one? Maybe you want to learn to make something new. Maybe you want to reboot a hobby from years past. Let your heart dream about what you really want.

Focusing on what brings us true pleasure each day coats these sparse winter days with rich beauty.

The trees may be bare, but there is no need for our lives to be.

When you wake up tomorrow, pause and ask yourself, What would feel like love today?

The answer may surprise you.

Wishing you Loving Kindness and JOY in 2019!