I must admit, I have been feeling more centered lately. That is, until this early snow arrived today. A year ago I was at the cusp of a tumultuous season in my life. I was about to lose my job, experience financial stress, walk a young man through a horrendous situation, and ultimately lose my father to Parkinson's. Oh yeah, it was also the beginning of a very long winter that started way too soon. The forecast is calling for an additional 12-18 inches over the next 48 hours and that has set me back. I even stayed home from work today because I wasn't prepared (mentally) to brave the elements.
What is it about winter that depresses people? When I was a kid I remember spending hours outside playing (and laying) in the snow! Where did THAT guy go? A few of my friends still love winter, even as adults. They go skiing, drive snowmobiles and love this time of the year. Me, not so much. I wonder when that changed? When did I start dreading the cold and snow of winter. Perhaps it was 12 years ago when I spent a winter in warm, sunny Brazil. A lot changed for me there, mostly for good. It was the first time I was on the summer-side of the hemisphere in December, and it was a wonderful experience!
Then I came back to Canada, thankfully in the summer. I remember being cold even in June as I had already become accustomed to the South American climate. The first winter back was difficult and it's been all down hill from there.
So maybe it was Brazil that did me in. I have never truly recovered from my time there, in many ways. I loved the culture, the people, the food, and the warm weather. I experienced community there in new ways (to me) that left me feeling empty and alone when I returned to a more non-social culture in Canada. And I haven't been the same since.
Which brings me back to feeling centered. After my dad passed away I started attending a "self-care" course that has been teaching me how to take care of "me" and "my needs" in the midst of chaos or stress. The course was designed for care-givers that are experiencing high levels of stress. There are 12 people in the class which have become more like family than classmates over the last few months. We have a teacher, but she is mostly a guide - helping us to take time to observe our thoughts with the intention of letting them go. That might not make much sense to you but I discovered that if I'm going to get emotionally healthy and stay there I need to take some quiet time every day to stop the madness in my head.
Becoming centered is a process and I feel like I'm on my way. And today, although the mounds of snow have taken me back a step or two, I am ready to move forward and face whatever comes my way in a calm, relaxed way, that will keep my head above water no matter what life throws at me.