Listen to your life. All moments are key moments. ~Frederick Buechner
To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold. – Aristotle
What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.– John Steinbeck
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.– Albert Camus
I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’– Lewis Carroll
For the last few weeks, Winnipeg, my City, has received over 5 or 6 feet of snow. We have received so much snow that sometimes it is hard for me to decide where else to throw it.
Faced with a 40 foot long driveway and 5 feet of snow, I know I need a strategy for every snow fall. Two weeks we had received 2 snow storms back to back, with each storm dropping a foot of snow, at first the task seemed overwhelming so my plan was to “chunk it down” and break it up into a manageable workload. In other words, I shoveled as the snow was falling, about 3 -5 inches every few hours. Then I came inside, worked for a few hours, grabbed something to eat or drink,, and repeated this until the driveway was cleared. This has become my rhythm as the seems to be on a marathon fall, it is falling every second day or so.
Here are some of my life lessons or thoughts I have learned while shoveling snow:
1. Shoveling snow is a lot like building your profession or business. It takes a lot of really hard work and at times it seems overwhelming. Little by little, shovel by shovel, you end up clearing a path and moving forward. Persistence works in your favor. DO NOT GIVE UP even when you feel overwhelmed. Lots of times, we feel overwhelmed simply because we need to do a task we’re not very familiar with, or because a task is high stakes and we want to do a superb job of it. By itself, this isn’t necessarily a problem. We can often work through the task despite those overwhelmed feelings.
2. The new snow fall is beautiful. We tend to romanticize about how pretty everything looks until we have to face the practicality of clearing the snow and dealing with logistics. In the beginning, we also romanticize about starting our own business and how wonderful it would be to be your own boss and have flexible time. The practical side is how will you make money? Do you have enough money saved for a start up? What is your business model? We romanticize about how wonderful it would be to be a manager or director and then the reality of leading a company and all the stress and complexities associated with that position kick in.
3. It’s important to be flexible and let go of things we cannot control. Weather is at the top of that list. We can make plans and contingency plans and at the end of the day, we can only do so much planning and then we have to let it go. One strategy to help with this is noticing your 5 senses: what you can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell. Another is through breath, or gently allowing your own awareness/attention to find your breathing. You should be noticing all of the sensations of breathing in and out.
4. Complaining only serves to slow you down. As I said, it was quiet outside, but as the time went on, people started to emerge from their houses. I heard some of my neighbors complaining to each other they were boxed in, that the snow had been plowed too tight to their cars, etc. Did the complaining change the situation they were in? No. Only doing the work can change your situation.
5. Live in the moment. People tend to control things because they’re afraid of what the future might hold, or perhaps they’re scared to repeat a past mistake. Stop worrying about the what ifs and pay attention to the current moment at hand. To be fully be in the moment, try to do less. When someone micromanages every aspect of their life, they tend to forget how to live because they have way too many things on their plate. Try to figure out what’s most important. Do those tasks, and learn to delegate the rest, if possible.
Right! Since it snowed over a foot again last night, I need to go out and shovel.
Where is Spring thaw? I’m ready for a meltdown and green spring!!