Living your whole life in cold or hot climates does NOT necessarily make you immune to those extreme temperatures!
Seriously, how many times have you heard:
“Well, you should be used to the cold, you live in [insert cold city!]!”
“Oh but you ought to be able to handle the humidity, living in [insert humid place] and all!”
No, people! We are not robots! We are still human beings, facing every winter, every summer, every fall and every spring as if for the first time, and we react as we would every time to a splash of cold water on our face or a dip in a hot bath! We still get cold; we still get hot, and we do not necessarily adapt better for the next time around.
Statistics mean little to nothing for me in general so I follow my own observations and experience in life. Running in heaps of circles has its benefits. I know many people who dread the onset of freezing temperatures in their home towns and get just as cold as the rest of us living in warmer climates. I know others who live in horribly humid conditions all their lives and never quite get used to it. I know people who have never experienced a real winter yet their first time in cold weather does not even phase them. It is impossible to discern a pattern anywhere so I choose to see individuality instead.
Our physical reactions to the changes of season are as individual as our personality. Maybe we can enhance our tolerance for the extreme weathers; maybe we are meant to stay as we are; maybe we change with age and tough training. None of it is necessarily true for every single person.
My fingers are freezing as I am typing this —this after a hot meal, while drinking freshly brewed hot Oolong tea and sitting in the warmest room in the house! I stay cold from late autumn to mid spring — every day, almost all day long. I am not a raw foodist – although I am dying to try that diet at least one summer in my life and I especially wonder how those guys make it through winter but I digress— and I eat constantly and enjoy optimal health and plenty of activity. So why can I not adapt to the cold temperatures for just one winter?
I grew up in Iran and Turkey where the winter snow used to cover us up to our knees, and life would go on as it would for just another sunny day! I adore the heavy rain, dark clouds, and thunderstorms, dislike bright white cloudy days, and enjoy some snow away from home. In fact, I travel to Europe on purpose in the bleak of winter because I find it irresistibly romantic!
Variety in the weather patterns and temporary exposure on vacation is fine with me; it’s the long winter weather at home that always gets me. I have tried to train myself to no avail; I am physically incapable of keeping my core temperature warm for any period of time. That is just my nature and so long as it does not keep me from being a better human being, I let it be.
But what prevents me from my quest in evolving into the best human being is my impossible attitude toward the cold!
At the first snap of chilly wind and freezing temperatures – the moment that we know without a shadow of a doubt that summer has bid us goodbye yet again – the pleasant and sweet person I know as myself slowly turns into a shrew and as the winter weeks and months march on, I find me spouting furious complaints at the weather police and making up serious excuses to leave things undone!
This year, I am taming the shrew! This year, I will adopt a foolproof strategy to embrace the change of seasons, even if in my heart, I’d rather be basking in the warm Pacific Ocean in Hawaii. This year, I will not complain once; I will simply manage winter in delight. I will find a way to welcome this colder climate, rather than “push through it”, or “make it through [insert warmer month]!” This year, I will find the hidden blessings in winter and shake my attitude inside out!
“A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves.”
~ Marcel Proust
Time to set the rules of Winter 2010 with these 9 Promises of Change to tame me and you and every other winter shrew out there, to help us find delight and joy in the change of seasons:
1 ~ Smiling at the Cold ~
Smiling is not over-rated: I don’t care how foolish I may look, the plan is to smile all winter. The colder it gets, the more I will smile. I will smile when I wake up cold, when I go into my balcony and when I go outside to the world. I am going to smile at this weather. You should too!
2 ~ Meditation for Inner Warmth ~
The ultimate practice for inner peace and I have been falling out of my routine again. It’s high time to get back into daily meditation. I will meditate on patience for the cold and welcome for changes of the season. I will look for that light within to warm me up!
3 ~ Saluting the Winter Sun ~
Just as we salute the sun in the beloved yoga practice, I am going to salute the dreary, cold, bright winter sun every day. The goal is to look for solace and beauty in it until I find it!
4 ~ Wearing your Socks ~
Oh how I dislike wearing socks at home, to bed, or in the balcony and I really don’t believe this whole theory of socks keeping you warm but my Dad and husband have fought me long enough so I’ll give this theory a try too!
5 ~ Watching your Words ~
Our thoughts become words and our words become actions. I did not make that up; I heard it and am just now beginning to understand its true power. This winter, I will ban negative thoughts; I will never again exclaim how much I resent the cold and I will not curse the weather Gods anymore!
6 ~ Putting on Layers ~
I will wear a million layers — or at least three! If I am going to be in an extreme circumstance, it will be on the side of hotness – as in thermally hot. I will make a party out of it and wear my best stockings, hats, jackets, sweaters and boots!
7 ~ Reading Epic Novels ~
Oh my very favorite. I have always said that we should read our best classics in the winter! I read Wuthering Heights, Madame Bovary, and a sweet many other classics in the cold of winter – and I will continue the tradition by the fire. Right now, The Lord of the Rings has me captivated. What are you reading this winter?
8 ~ Seeing the Bright Side of Winter ~
Oh yes, no mosquitoes to bite me, no insects or bugs to bother me, and it is a time of renewal for the earth, a time for rest before new growth. Wonderful reasons to smile!
9 ~ Helping Someone Else embrace Winter ~
Maybe this post is a head start on that path but there are few things as effective to make you believe in something as advocating it to others. So love winters, embrace the cold, find beauty in the bleak skies and even in the shorter days and the darker nights, and simply refuse to let the change of seasons bring down your spirits!
A Penny for your Thoughts
That is more than what I can commit and promise for this winter – yet I love to hear how you battle the cold – or rather, embrace it. What other strategies do you use to fight the short days, the dark nights, the cold wind, and the morning freeze! Love to hear from you in the comments. Oh and if you live in paradise (Hawaii, Bali, South of France…), then please tell us you miss change of seasons and such… !