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I am snowed into my house. There is a blizzard warning in effect outside, and I believe it. Blowing snow makes it difficult to see anything except for the two foot icicle hanging outside my dining room window. Occasionally, I can get a glimpse of desperate starlings trying to eat from the bird feeder, hanging on for dear life. Some of our trees are touching the ground, bent completely over.

This isn’t new. We had a snowstorm (much bigger) this past weekend, and another one around Christmas. Our orange plastic snow shovel is cracked from use, and all the stores were sold out of new ones. These have been interspersed with smaller snows, which would typically be large snows for my area (six inches, anyone?).

The first snowstorm was very exciting. White Christmas, oh boy! Children out of school, adults out of work! Sure, there was a lot of shoveling, but we had plenty of people to do it. The mountains of plowed snow that blocked crosswalks and parking spots were a bit of a nuisance, but we had plenty of 50 degree weather a week or so later that helped melt things down.

It is getting old.I am tired of the snow.

I try to keep a pretty positive attitude. This snow…ugh. The issues are so multi-faceted, I think it deserves a bulleted list:

  • While it is snowing, I am stuck inside the house. Everyone’s nerves get frayed. (We’ve made jokes about the Donner Party.)
  • There is a risk of power outage (we’ve had two so far), which raises the specter of a cold house, food going rotten, no cooking, no light, no computer, no internet to connect me to people outside my house.
  • The snow restricts my movement, where I can and cannot go. I sometimes find myself feeling trapped, shackled, caught, caged…you get the idea.
  • After it stops snowing, we have to extricate ourselves from the house. After injuring myself once trying to help, I’m leery of going out in what will probably be waist-deep snow and ice.
  • It will be a long time before all the snow melts, and I find those gray, chemical-covered piles of ice chunks by the side of the road really depressing.

Perhaps most importantly: Snow brings out interesting things in people. There was the very nice man with a bobcat who helped dig out cars out (for free!), and there are people who buy five snow shovels at the hardware store (leaving none for the rest of us). There’s graciousness and there’s pushing and shoving. I’m slightly afraid of what all this snow will reveal of my personality.

It’s interesting. People pay good money to go on meditation retreats, live a more ascetic lifestyle for awhile, go silently for a week or a month, eat simply, and take a break from the technology and hubbub of 21st century life in a Western country. Yet when offered an opportunity for a free retreat with snow-covered vistas, I feel myself clawing at the door. Who knows, perhaps that is how I would feel if I chose to go on one of those month-long retreats.

So, I’m trying to reframe my outlook on the snow. I’ve mainly been catching up on video games, guilt-free (no “I should be doing something productive” fears echoing through my head.) I want to take advantage of the opportunity to take some deep breaths and ask, “What is happening for me right now?” To slow down. To breathe, and let go of expectations.

I might as well enjoy the view of two foot icicles, too. They really are amazing.

NPR had a wonderful series on the mind-body connection awhile back. If you haven’t already listened to it, there is a great podcast on science and meditation.

The podcast is available for download, and there are some “web extras.”

People who meditate say it induces well-being and emotional balance. In recent years, a group of neuroscientists has begun investigating the practice, dubbed “mindfulness.” As NPR’s Allison Aubrey reports, they are exploring the hypothesis that meditation can actually change the way the brain works.

That seems pretty obvious to me, but I have some first-hand experience with the effects of meditation on my body. It’s interesting to see a clinically-proven take on what many people have known for millenia.

The Wisconsin scientists have demonstrated that meditators do have increased activity in one part of the brain, the left prefrontal cortex, which is associated with emotional well-being. The response is strongest with long-time adept meditators, but the researchers see the same pattern of brain activity in people who are just being taught to meditate.

For more on science and meditation, Health Skills has an interesting blog post on a clinical study about the effect of deep breathing on pain and affect (attitude) among people with fibromyalgia and those without. The findings refer specifically to deep breathing, and not mindfulness meditation, positive visualization, guided meditation, or other meditation techniques.

My Etsy Store

A fibro-friendly item from my Etsy store

I've been working on making fibro-friendly jewelry. I'd love it if you checked them out by clicking the image above, or going to www.etsy.com/people/RogueCrafter

About Me

This blog is intended as a place for me to reflect on my own healing journey, in the hopes that others may also gain insight from my experiences. I've "borrowed" a line from Robert Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken:

'Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.'

I think the most important thing for me now is that I feel empowered to be a force for positive change in my life. And that, my friends, has made all the difference.

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