Winter in the PNW can be challenging. Even if you don’t suffer from a full-blown Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), it is depressing not to see the sun for long periods of time because of the clouds and the short winter days. The dampness (something to do with the low dew point in this area) that penetrates to bone level and getting wet each time we step out of the house don’t help either. And sooner or later, sugar and coffee lose their curing properties.
So what can we do?
Let’s starts with a picture:
Remember your last flight? Above the layer of clouds, the sun always shines. Think about it. It may be night here right now, or we can’t see the sun because of the clouds; it may be shining in Europe, or Australia, but it does shine, always.
Once the picture is firm in your head, feel how the sun makes your muscles relax. The distance between your ears and your shoulders grows, and loose facial muscles enable a grin that turns into a smile that allows more air to get into your lungs.
Now, it’s time to get physical!
You can get up and walk around. Keep the picture of the sun and the feeling of warmth and start moving. Do jumping jacks if you want or wash the dishes – anything that will keep you moving. Movement is life. Only dead things don’t move. Then go outside! If you live in the city, walk to a park. Surround yourself with green things and feel their happiness at the rain that makes us so miserable. They are happy – see how glittery they look!
Now that the blood is moving in your veins again, remember movement is life, see if there’s anyone you can talk with – friends, family, acquaintances; find a human life to communicate with. If you can’t find that, speak with a cat or a bird. Feel the warmth that is part of being human. It strengthens your immune system.
Now that we’re moving, let’s get back to the mental level:
As anyone living in the PNW can testify, sometimes the clouds are one endless blanket of gray with no silver lining in sight. And sometimes, clouds are metaphorical; from an outburst of a friend to traffic on I-5 that never moves, to heavier clouds that don’t disperse so easily.
Mostly, we can’t control clouds. What we can do is introduce wind that will help clear some layers of them, and make room for silver linings to show.
Yes, it takes work, and this is the kind of work that only you can do for yourself.
Many things can be used as wind: a quick road trip, a walk in the forest, drinking your favorite latte on the beach, reading some lines from a great author you like, calling a friend (calling, not texting); basically, anything that brings in new energy and speed and can assist in removing clouds.
One of my favorite ways to generate wind is to ask questions. For a writer, there are always great questions to ask. For example, what would a world without hypocrisy look like? How would the world look if the commandment of “Thou shall not covet” was exercised by all people? How quickly will our economic system collapse without coveting? What would it do to social media? And on and on… to even more interesting questions: What is time? Why do we need it? Does it exist anywhere else?
As the turbulence of wind you generate in your mind gets stronger, other inner turbulence, I found, gets quieter. Before you know it, you are inside the picture again, inside life, inside the magnitude of awe and wonder and so much more that there is to discover and get to know. And silver linings are popping all over the place. Then, as you reach out to the light, suddenly, the light reaches out back to you.