Saturday, February 11, 2012

Always a Warm Winter

With the season of winter well underway, one needs to fortify themselves from the onslaught of inclement weather in order to maintain desired levels of health, stamina and strength. Of constant concern is warding off winter chills. During the day, residents of northern latitudes supplement their raised thermostats with hot broth, hot tea and chocolate and steamy cups of coffee. These beverages are a nourishing and quick way to keep internal temperatures normal. As added precaution, vitamins and over-the-counter remedies are consumed to reduce sore throats, runny noses, sniffles and pesky coughs.

When venturing out of door, layers of warm clothing are foundation to down-filled jackets, car coats and parkas. Hats, scarves, mittens or gloves complete the ensemble for protection against blustery, uncomfortable conditions—the main objective is to maintain wellness and warmth. Everyone tries to keep their resistance to germs in tip-top shape. Long before winter’s arrival, pneumonia and flu shots are available for those susceptible to these maladies. Winter chills are not welcome.

Even so, regardless of the precautions and preventive measures, not everyone stays warm. We forget that generating warmth is a team effort involving mind, body and spirit. Although we keep our body well fed and wrapped in heat-retaining fabrics, we need a core supply of energy. Whether this is called attitude, outlook, or personal sunshine, the desired outcome is comfortable cozy warmth.

More important than heavy clothing, blankets or quilts, flannel or fleece is the inner warmth we create. So many people glide through the winter months with joyful exuberance, gleeful hearts and sparkling eyes; they seem not to notice the extended hours of darkness, cold frigid temperatures and limited sunshine. In spite of limited economic resources, fixed income or ailments, they glow with a tranquil and unflustered composure. What is the source of such satisfaction?

I suspect it is the understanding of the important things in one’s life. We are all on a similar journey. Although the roads travelled, and rest stops along the way are different, each of us decides what is important and what is not. As one accumulates years, our inventory of experience allows for the choice of treasure or trash. Which memories should be savored? What moments to remember should be treasured? Winters must be cold for people who do not have warm memories.

No article of clothing can warm a vacancy of the heart. No thermostat can fill the emptiness of the spirit with comforting warmth. No, entrĂ©e can relieve the pangs of loneliness. Only the inner source of one’s personal sunshine can fill, comfort and warm. So many times during life, one is challenged to draw strength from one’s faith, and beliefs. At times, faith and beliefs don’t seem all that important, but in difficult, stressful and troublesome times it is all we have to hold on to. Of all living things on the earth, only humans pray—or need to. And it is our prayerful words which fuels our inner sunshine providing warmth to the mind, comfort to the spirit and nourishment to the body. And, when this personal sunshine is willingly shared, darkness gives way to light, coldness no longer has dominion, and one enjoys always a warm winter. Those who keep in personal contact with family and friends, who make the effort to focus on doing for others, are healthier, happier, and more vibrant. Winter doldrums are inevitable, short days and long nights gnaw at one’s spirit. Cabin fever and Seasonal Depression Syndrome takes a toll on one’s energy and enthusiasm. But for those who understand the importance of tending and adapting to the seasonal changes within us, they are rewarded with an abundance of peaceful easy feelings, cherished memories, and, always--a warm winter.

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