Finding Grace in Winter Months
Many people I cross paths with these days say more or less the same refrain — “I hate winter, especially in the city. It’s so dirty and disgusting.” While I am not immune to these sentiments it got me thinking. I thought if you are like me and live in a city in the more northern of the northern hemisphere then you are faced with at least 4-6 months of potentially inclement weather aka “dirty and disgusting”. That means that a large portion of your life is spent wishing it was another time of year. I just thought that’s nuts. I’m not going to do that anymore — what a waste! It might take a little more effort but if we take the time and open our eyes to the possibility we can find an abundance of beauty and grace any time of year. And yes even in March in a big city.
How do you find grace and beauty in a city of brown slush and grey skies? I think it starts with a little intention and a bit of practice. Set the intention first of all that beauty is everywhere and can be found if we put our mind to it.
And practice by starting with your next walk (even if it’s just to the corner Starbucks to get a coffee). Ask yourself to observe what colours do you see, what interesting patterns can you find (on the streets, in the land) what unusual things can you identify. Maybe start photographing the interesting things you see out and about. Not necessarily with the mindset of will this look good on my instagram feed but more of a journal for your own creative insights and noticing. I noticed this interesting pattern the other day created on a light coloured tiled floor in the subway made by hundreds of people’s slushy boot prints.
What else can we observe when we are out and about. Maybe an unusual bird or even the quality of light that noticeable starts to change this time of year. I am often surprised at how many times I have been lucky enough to see a big hawk in the middle of the city scoping for prey. It’s amazing what you can see when you tune into what’s around you. One of my favourite books that might help get you started is Bird Art Life by Kyo Maclear.
I believe that by seeking out and witnessing beauty you give yourself a gift. A little moment just for you. To revel in the many layered richness of life that exists all around us in patterns, textures, sounds, sights and smells. Taking us out of our heads, out of our next task or to do list and giving us an opportunity to be present and experience a moment of grace.