February, 27, 2017


“…in the midst of disorder is reason. And if you can hold to reason, you shall be safe.”

Cecilia Ekback author Wolf Winter


Sometimes it feels like life has gone to hell in a hand basket, as my mother was wont to say. Everything is going wrong. You and your partner can not agree on literary anything, work is upside down, the weather is not co-operating,  the car won’t start, your migraine is throbbing unmercifully, the school calls and says one of the kids was in a fight, and there is nothing in the refrigerator to fix for dinner; not to mention the complaining neighbour, you suspect the dog needs to go to the vet and the garage roof is sinking under the weight of the snow.

Some days life does not feel safe at all!

Truth be told, at those times life isn’t safe. It isn’t safe to make decisions or do anything that might cause you to feel even more vulnerable. It isn’t safe to do much of anything except breathe. I am not being facetious.  I really mean it. When the world around you is collapsing, when it is storming outdoors, in the house, and inside you, it is time to step back…..breathe and get a grip. Sometimes life is just too hard!  It hurts too much. The expectations are too big. Sometimes life is moving so fast, and demanding so much, and looking so impossible, that all that can be done is stop and breathe…..literally.

Cecilia Ekback in her astoundingly beautiful and brutal book Wolf Winter is talking about violent bitterly cold winter storms that last for days in the 17oo’s. Finding a place of safety is almost unheard of.  It is hard for me to imagine finding reason in the midst of that deadly cold and unrelenting wind, snow and ice. And yet, small things like the shovel wasn’t buried under the snow, or there was some hot broth already made, or a moment’s respite when a kindly warm shoulder touched your arm, made it possible to keep going so their fingers and toes wouldn’t freeze.

That is what we have to learn to do in times of miserable break down: find reason to keep on going so our heart and soul won’t freeze. Most of Ekback’s characters wanted to live, some of them had family they loved. In 18th century Lapland life was that honed: stay alive and find love, the only reason there was in the middle of the storm.

Could it possibly be that simple for us as well? Stay alive and find love? Maybe. Think about it……what really matters?

Feeling safe matters.  Learn to breathe deeply and intentionally, remember to be mindful about saying things, even hard things, kindly. In the center of the storm choose kindness, even if the wind is blowing so hard you can barely hear and the the icy snow pellets are bashing into your face so powerfully you can see almost nothing and you have gone numb to the wildness of it all. Snapping won’t help you find warmth. Kindness is far more likely to to give you reason in the middle of disorder.

Life might be feeling pretty hellish, but you don’t have to climb into the hand basket. You can look around, take time to breathe in some calm, and mindfully search for the reason at the center of your storm.


  • I am grateful for the dear young woman Jamie who visited today and has agreed to design, create and maintain my yard this spring and summer.
  • I am grateful my energy held well today and I accomplished several things I have wanted to get at for ages.
  • I am grateful my friend Elizabeth likes walking with Aimee and me from time to time
  • I am grateful for financial resources to take good care of Aimee, the cutest puppy on the planet, and me.
  • I am grateful for the good safe life I live.

Hugs and love, Nancy

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