We were snowed in for several days this week. When we went to bed on Saturday night, it was with the anticipation of waking up to snow. Lots of snow. This time, the weathermen got it right. Oh boy, did they ever get it right. Instead of the usual few inches of snow we usually get, we got a LOT of snow. Which meant that we weren’t going anywhere for a while.
Being stuck in the house is a good test of patience. It’s also an opportunity to find the sublime in the tiniest of moments.
When there’s no place you have to be, tiny moments abound. That can be a good thing and that can be a bad thing.
The first thing I did on Sunday morning – after my daily routine, which was much more leisurely than usual – was shovel snow. I was obviously preparing for my escape. And doing it less than 24 hours after the snow started!
There was a logic to my madness. I’ve shoveled old snow, deep snow and icy snow. None of those are easy to do. With the snow still coming down, I knew it would only get deeper. Shoveling early would give me a head start.
As I moved hundreds – if not thousands – of pounds of snow, the process became more and more enjoyable. Rather than thinking about it as a chore to be done, it became a puzzle to be worked. Soon, I was figuring out where to leave the piles so they wouldn’t be in the way of other passageways. I was playing with different ways to move the snow efficiently. Sometimes, picking it up worked. In other areas, it worked better to slide and push. I was in my gleeful world, taking things step by step.
Little did I know I would have three full days of staying home.
Had you told me of my sequestration at the beginning, I might have gotten worried. Or maybe not. In the past, I have not been all that patient while staying at home. It seems I always had somewhere else to be. Yet, with this storm, I kept experiencing sublime moments like I had on the snow. My cup of tea was more delicious than usual. My work projects flowed like silk. I made really good progress on editing my new book Dancing the Tightrope.
Reflecting on it, I believe there are two changes that made a difference. First, this was not all that different than the COVID lockdowns we’ve experienced in the last couple of years. I had a lot of practice at not going anywhere for sure.
In the last three years, I’ve also had another kind of practice that has made a huge difference. It’s something I’ve written about in Dancing the Tightrope. I’m learning to BE. Being – in the present moment – is a lifelong journey. It’s a journey I’ve been on for a long time.
I keep finding new layers of presence. It’s a game of infinite layers.
When I first learned to meditate, I looked for the endgame. How would I know when I was done? What is the minimum acceptable time to be still and call it meditation? Is it still meditation if I open my eyes? Over time, I’ve come to recognize it’s never done. And meditation can happen when we are shoveling snow, making tea or yes, when we are closing our eyes and focusing on the breath.
What is meditation to you? What brings you into the present moment? What lets you know when you are operating out of the past or in the future? What helps you reset yourself?
Meditation is the first thing I do every day in my morning routine. (After the bodily essentials are covered, of course!) Where does meditation fit in your routine, if it does?