Welcome to Winter, Then

What an emotional rollercoaster this morning has been! It started off extremely well: meditation right after waking up and yum-scrum pumpkin pancakes for breakfast (prepped and ready to mix up the night before!), all with the snow twinkling in at us in the new day's sunshine. Kind of a perfect late autumn morning, frankly. My first fall in Western New York is quickly turning into my first winter, and my first time experiencing this much snow and freezing temperatures this early in November. Somehow, despite the fact that I don't have a proper coat for snow and my partner wasn't due to put his snow tires on until tomorrow, it has so far been quite pretty and fairly magical, rather like living inside a holiday card, and, if chillier than I'd prefer, not especially inconvenient.

Until this morning, when my car decided that 13°F was toooo much (or, well, too little), and refused to start, and Eli's car got stuck in our icy drive the moment he tried to turn around. After an hour, some hot water, and lots of pushing later (and twice more getting stuck), we got his car back in the driveway properly, and mine, too, decided it would join in on all the fun and started up, and all was well that ended well.

I so easily could have set about my day cranky from the wasted hour, and the tramping around in the cold and ice, and the leftover stress of having thought we were stuck on our remote property with neither car working. Instead, I found myself stamping the snow off my boots and smiling, thankful-to-bursting that my partner and I are both kinds of people who, when met with a frustrating problem, don't resort to sniping or finger-pointing or even excessive irritation. It's not that we don't get fussed, but the bulk of each of our responses is to pretty calmly think about the problem and try to problem solve.

That's practically magic. It's the coolest thing that all of us have the power within to take a deep breath, let go of the emotional responses that won't serve us, and move forward with a clear mind and heart, so that once the problem is solved, all that's left is satisfaction or relief that you got it done. And while we happen to be two people whose instinctual responses are already to take that breath in between realizing the problem and reacting, that in no way means it isn't something anyone can train themselves to do. Certainly in higher stress situations I have to work much harder and am much more aware of the effort to stop, slow down, breathe, then respond; that I had to learn. But it can be learned, and it helps keep things in such better perspective. It didn't make any sense to get worried or irritated or angry this morning. It wouldn't have made my car start, and we didn't have anything more important than an average day to get to, no planes to catch or medical emergencies. After a certain point, it was honestly pretty hard not to laugh at it all, my useless car neatly in her spot, Eli's trying to nestle dangerously near to it, half off the driveway. Humans are kind of silly. We get ourselves into silly predicaments. All of this isn't to make light of real problems. There are plenty of obstacles and struggles too big or too messy, or simply too sad, to take very easily in stride. But it's worth reminding ourselves that not everything is a real problem. In fact, a whooole lot isn't. So it's worth spending more time taking deep breaths and meeting our problems with a slightly calmer mind. Humans may be silly, but we're also pretty good problem solvers, and if we get out of our way a little bit, we're great problem solvers.

So if you need me, I'll be working on taking deep breaths and getting out of my own way. And definitely eating the last pumpkin pancake. Happy Wednesday!

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