We have had a lot of snow and ice in January and more snow and ice so far in February and for at least the next week. Thankfully my MAHQ friends bought me some snow boots for my birthday at New Year. They have been well used! However, I have caught myself moaning quite a few times about the cold and how hard it has been to stay warm.
It is interesting how our unseen expectations cause us difficulties in our life. If we are not aware of the expectations then there is nothing we can do about the difficulties they cause. However, once we see them – and our mindfulness can help with this – we can transform them with compassion and insight. I have had an experience of this recently, in relation to feeling cold, slipping about on the ice and moaning about it.
I have enough heat in the house and sufficient warm clothes to stay warm. It is my expectations that are the problem. I expect to be able to sit in the house and not be cold, without wearing a pair of fleece lined trousers, without a hot water bottle on my feet and without a blanket. So often I sit to work without these things and end up getting very cold. I tell myself stories about how the house should be warm enough not to need all these additional props for me to stay warm. I tell myself stories about how I must have poor circulation. I tell anyone I speak to about how difficult it is to stay warm.
I notice a similar pattern when there is ice outside. My snow boots should be enough to not slip out of doors. I shouldn’t have to put crampons on my boots in order to walk the dogs. So then I don’t put them on my boots and run the risk of slipping. Something else to moan about!
These expectations are not in touch with the reality of my life at this time. Acceptance of the situation as it is – as cold and icy – is necessary. Once I recognise my unrealistic expectations and accept the situation as it is, there is choice to do something different.
I have made a choice. A choice to be self-compassionate and to take steps to make sure I stay warm. A choice to consciously wear my fleece lined trousers and fingerless gloves in the house and to feel cosy and warm. A choice to wear crampons on my boots when I go out and walk in the beautiful countryside. A choice to appreciate that I have sufficient high tech warm clothing to stay warm on the coldest of days. A choice to appreciate that I have the equipment to walk out of doors every day in the sparking clean snow and enjoy the fresh air, the clear skies, the crunch of my feet in virgin snow or the falling flakes.
Now I am going to put my crampons on my boots for a walk. Rather than moaning about the necessity to do this I will instead be grateful for the crampons and for the ability to walk freely without the risk of slipping.
Reflect if you have any expectations about how things should be that are causing a problem or that you are moaning about. Can you find a way to recognise these expectations, apply compassion and find some acceptance and a wider perspective?
One of the things I noticed the most on moving up to Scotland was the very short winter days and the very long summer days. A result of this is the higher speed of transition from short to longer days that I am experiencing now. I find the lengthening of the days very hopeful and a prelude for the approaching spring. I am hoping to see a snow drop some time soon.
Hope is the theme for our Spring Membership Weekend on 19 to 21 March and Members Retreat on 19 to 24 March. The weekend is free for members and the five day retreat is £125 for members. If you are not already a member, then there is the option to take out a trial membership for £10 for 6 months. Why not join us in the hope that coming together in mindfulness and compassion can make our lives and our world a better place. I hope you do!