So many people across North America are suffering and scared by severe weather this winter. And rightly so! To not have heat or food, to not feel safe, to be isolated and maybe hurt and not have access to help is terrifying. I wish I could be of concrete help somehow to these people in need. As I focus on being safe I realize I have resources and information and probably skills that many others may well not have access to. I again remember how blessed I am.
My way of helping is to stay off the roads where I might slide into someone; to stay off the sidewalks where I may slide onto the ground and get hurt or hurt someone on my way down; and to make spaghetti sauce and corn bread and offer food to a family I care a lot about who are at the hospital worrying about their mother and grandmother. Not a huge contribution, but what I know to do. I also am trying not to be an extra load on the electricity or gas by keeping lights and heaters off or low, and furnace at 67°F. I am embarrassed to realize that 66°F is cold to me and I don’t willing go there. How privileged I am and how seldom I realize that.
I find it interesting to be a woman of a certain age; I see myself as semi-retired, thus have the luxury of morning sleep- in and afternoon reading time. Need be, I can pay someone to give Aimee exercise if going out doesn’t seem smart for me to do because of the ice or the exceeding cold. I can eat anything I want to eat, whenever I want to eat it. I am a nibbler/grazer. Clo needed, in order to feel there was some order in what for her was a chaotic world, 3 full meals a day. I love not doing that. Raw baby carrots, apple and cheese, homemade soup, egg salad and rice crackers, lots of avocados, walnuts, bananas, miniature oranges. I am mindful of healthy and a treat as well as satisfying and easy to prepare. I am blessed. I say that a lot, I am blessed. I say it so much because sometimes it is true and sometimes I need to remind myself that it is true. When I say I am blessed I recognized that I am also exceedingly privileged.
It doesn’t take a lot for me to feel blessed lately. I am loving the deliciousness of long hours of not much of anything stretching before me. I find it very healing and sustaining. I love seeing clients. I am grateful for Aimee. Yesterday when she went to puppy day school for 3 to 4 hours, I missed her very much. I am so grateful to have sweet Aimee in my life.
My furnace had a truly difficult time keeping up with the wind and cold, and it reminded me that some years ago when that happened Clo said not to worry. She said it would be fine when the wind died down and the temperature came up just a bit. I felt her reassurance when I began to worry about the pipes getting too cold. All is well. Clo and a dear friend in Michigan via text messages (blessed be for technology), assured me that time and the night would take care of me. And they were right. Not all those who had challenges during this severe weather period had such a swift and easy recovery. Others are still cold and low on food. Last night I felt the safe warm arms of night hold me and comfort me and bring me into the morning when my furnace could once again keep up with winter’s demands.
I am remembering many years ago when I was single parenting 4 children and very concerned about my furnace which totally was not keeping us warm. I felt incredibly alone, isolated, and of course, responsible for the safety and warmth of all of us. I was stunned that their father did not check in to see if his children were safe. We were snowed in and left to my creative survival skills. I had the children gather up sleeping bags, blankets, pillows and precious stuffed animals and all the books we could find, and we lit a fire in the wood burning fireplace and lit the small round portable kerosene heater that would absolutely be illegal today. On the top of the heater I placed a dish of corn chips and cheese with salsa and we made hot chocolate. We had a picnic and spent the night all 5 of us snuggled on the floor soaking up energy and warmth from each other, from the heater and as the embers began to die in the fireplace, pulled more blankets over ourselves. It was a time of love, stretching to make things work together, and accepting the reality that life is filled with surprises.
I am learning to live alone and feel joy and love for my life today, now that I am single once again and being left to my own resources. The severe weather seems to be helping me with that. Inside myself I have found a greater sense of safety and ability for self-care. I have also gotten better at allowing myself to be taken care of as neighbours generously step forward and offer help with icy sidewalks, getting salt from the store, shovelling my car out of snow banks, the practical things needed now. Accepting love and comfort and not feeling like a wimp are current challenges. I didn’t feel like a wimp when the 5 of us created a camping out adventure when we were in the midst of a huge snow storm, but I then forgot how resourceful I could be when I later found a partner who would co-create solutions and was excellent at problem solving. I may have leaned a little too much. Who knows? We learned a very companionable balance, Clo and I did. And we complimented each other very well. I simply need to renew some old skills now that I don’t have a fall back partner.
I hope you are staying warm and have homemade soup to fill your tummy and warm your heart on these very cold and dangerous days. Love yourself. Always, always, love yourself. Have compassion for yourself. Know you are inherently lovable and you deserve to be safe and live a life of intimacy. Surround yourself with people who only want the best for you and always lead from your heart and your precious intuition. What does your heart want? Feel deep inside and find that place of knowing and remembering. You deserve your heart’s desire.
While the winds roar and the temperature goes to -40°C, and the bleakness of the days and great darkness of the nights surround you and tell you this is life for several weeks if not months ahead, remember to be intentional about offering happy surprises for your partner. Protecting those you love from the outer storm welcomes mindful and tender creativity in your inner intimate world: plan a candle light picnic on a cozy blanket on the floor, take a fragrant bubble bath together accompanied by music you both love, create a kitchen band and march around the house being so noisy the storm gods will HAVE to listen. Play. Laugh. Love. The storm always goes away eventually.