Snowmageddon 2014: A Mindful Snow Survival Guide
Here in Portland we are undergoing a twice a decade event we like to call Snowmaggedon. For many parts of the country, this amount of snow would be laughable, but here in Portland it frightens and delights us. We are used to snow's cousin rain, but snow itself in large amounts is rare.
When the snow comes, we retreat into our homes, avoid driving, go sledding, and make snowpeople (as snowmen are too hetero normative for Portlanders).
But sometimes enjoying the snow is hard, because it's cold, slippery, and generally inconvenient. It's easy to forget the miracle of snow and instead focus on the problems. Nevertheless, part of living mindfully is learning to appreciate the beauty of whatever life brings. And so, in that spirit I offer you this simple Mindful Snow Survival Guide.
Step 1 -- Look at the Snow
I remember one winter night in Tennessee when it started snowing flakes so huge that I stood outside for at least a half hour just watching them fall. The sight of snow was both mesmerizing and exhilarating.
Don't forget to watch the snow. Notice how it floats through the air. Watch how it settles on everything around you, coating the world is a soft powder. Taking the time to pause and look with the eyes of curiosity can bring you joy.
Step 2 -- Go Sledding
The first winter I spent in Portland, it snowed so much the whole city shut down. The next day my friends and I decided to go sledding, but we ran into a problem. All the stores were sold out. We finally found a tiny hardware store that had sleds, and so we waited in line USSR style for over 45 mins to buy one. But it was totally worth it, because we spent the next 2-3 hours in pure bliss.
Let go of the way you want the world to be and just slide. Let the simple magic of sledding makes you relax and enjoy being alive in the mad and beautiful world.
Step 3 -- Build a Snowman
When I was a kid, I built lots of Calvin and Hobbesesque snow scenes. But as an adult, there are far too few opportunities creative in a playful way. So whenever I get the chance, I build I take the time to build a snowman. I love it because making a snowman is a negotiation between you and nature, which invites you to be creative.
Best of all, there is no such thing as a bad snowman, because even the bad ones can't help but be charming.
Step 4 -- Take a walk/run
Whenever I run in the snow, I feel like I'm in that scene of Rocky IV where he is running up a mountain. Of course, I'm sure my snowy hills aren't as steep, but there is something about running or walking is the snow that feels, both epic and magical.
Snow grants you magic powers. It helps you walk silently without it being awkward. It encourages you to look around because snow transforms the landscape. And it helps you realize how tentative our illusion control really is. Snow forces a sweet surrender that I find so rare and so special in this life.
Step 5 -- Remember To Be Amazed
There a few things in this world as magical as snow. Snow is made up of millions of tiny completely unique crystals falling to earth every second. If that's not amazing, I don't know what is.
However, these miracles like most are easy to forget.
We forget because we don't like the cold or because it makes us slow down. We forget because it's so easy to take for granted all of these tiny little miracles in our lives.
But you can change this. Stop reading these simple black words and instead stare out at the snow. Take a few minutes to appreciate the miracle of your earth, your eyes, and your life. You might be surprised at the peace that's hidden in every tiny flake.