Do you have a case of the winter blahs right about now? If you live anywhere in North America for the exception of Vancouver, California and Florida, it’s damn cold outside and the afternoon sunset can be disheartening at times.
Yes, it’s January and it owes us nothing more than the cold, dark days that are upon us.
With our climate being like this for a few months each year, we Canadians, and some of our American neighbours in more northerly states tend to grit our teeth and bear it. We hunch over and scurry from the warmth of our cars to the warmth of indoors like we’re in a platoon on the front line moving from bunker to bunker. We tend to place ourselves in the mindset that these are the months “to survive” or “get through” until life can really begin again in April.
In January, it’s so easy for us to create a subtle level of suffering by arguing with what is. We tend to wish it was later in the year – we tend to wish it was a warmer season – we tend to want the present to be the past because the future (April, where for art thou, April???) will be so much better.
As the thermometer dipped to around -20 degrees celsius this past weekend, it was tough to find the love for dear January, but it also reminded me of the extremely powerful shift in mindfulness if you can find that very love. Bemoaning January is no different than wanting it to be Friday, wishing the day was over, or wishing someone was different. Viewing January (and the other winter months) as an enemy creates a subtle discontentment within us that can linger throughout our days and end up being a form of chronic stress that compromises the level of health, peace, and overall enjoyment we desire for our life.
Even if it is January, can you see the present as your friend, rather than your enemy?
Can you raise your awareness and consciously choose to accept or heck, even enjoy the unique gifts of January? Lord knows this month offers very different things than it’s summerly counterpart, July. When you’re doing the scurry from your car to indoors, can you catch yourself grumbling, stop, and make that shift to creating another thought that in someway accepts or celebrates WHAT IS?
I shall give it a try right now and more importantly BE MINDFUL of these things if and when I catch myself grumbling as I do the scurry from my car to the indoors.
I present to you…My Top 10 Reasons To Revel In The Fact That’s It’s January
#10: Sales – I ordered Jack Wills shirts (my fave UK brand) online when I was pleasantly surprised by big markdowns on their website and I scored Banana Republic dress pants for like $50 each the other day…sweet.
#9: Sports – I’m like a dude the way I love to watch sports on TV (except for football and hockey) so this time of year rocks my spectator world…PGA Tour starts again, curling championships, Australian Open tennis…oh, sports…how I love thee.
#8: Curling – one of my favourite sports to play is the winter sport of curling…thankfully I have the other drinking sport of golf to amuse me during the other half of the year.
#7: Awards Shows – I don’t LOVE them, but they are a guilty pleasure-like form of entertainment on a Sunday night when all the other channels have football on.
#6: Availability – I actually have time and my friends actually have time to hang out – do you notice how many times throughout December you say to your friends, “let’s get together in January when it’s quieter.”
#5: “Parks & Recreation” – one of most favourite TV shows has returned…I thought it had been cancelled back in the fall, but now some shows premier in the new year…odd, but just happy that the hilarious Amy Poehler is back on the tube.
#4: Space – I live in Kensington Market here in Toronto which is a popular area that packs the streets, cafes, and stores with both tourists and locals during the weekends. However, right now, the cold and snowy days aren’t as inspiring to “spend the day in the market” so there is much more space to walk, dine, and shop on the weekend when I usually tend to wait for Monday – Friday to roam around the area.
#3: Organizing – and it’s not even because every frickin’ magazine tells me to do this in January.
#2: The Quiet: Due to the colder weekend days, this time of year has me wanting to be out and about less and gives me extra permission to be at home doing productive things or not. When it’s “nice out” there is a pull to get out there and DO stuff, while Mr. January and Mrs. February gently whisper to me on Sunday morning, “It’s all good if all you do today is a yoga class, pick up some groceries, and then plunk yourself in front of the TV to watch the final round of the golf.”
So, I realize that I only have 9 reasons to revel in the fact that it’s January…silly me to try to be just like David Letterman. So, why don’t you end this list for me – leave a comment below and tell me your favourite thing about this month that we tend to see as something “to survive” or “get through”. Together, let’s cultivate peace in our lives by accepting what is…the cold, dark days that are upon us.
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