Saturday, December 29, 2012

Magical Snowflakes

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Embracing Nature's Beauty


Remember making these as kids ?
As much as I complain about winter and condemn the snow, even I have to admit that there is something magical about the first real snowfall of the season. I peer outside my window and appreciate the beauty of the magical snowflakes falling. I have been taking brief little strolls, embracing the mounting snow and nature's beauty. These magical snowflakes land upon me, covering my fur trimmed hood and creating a halo like image. They dust my coat and pants, looking like magical fairy dust. The whiteness that surrounds me fills me with a sense of peace. How could I condemn these magical snowflakes and the winter wonderland that they create? It is not actually the first snow. We experienced a few flakes that granted the Philadelphia area a white Christmas. But the snowfall was not substantial and it soon melted away. This is our first true snowy day and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Perhaps it is the novelty of the first snow that is contributing to my change of heart? Or maybe it is because I am not being forced to leave the warmth of my home and schlep about in it? But regardless of the reason I am content and almost excited as I watch the flakes fall and the snow accumulate. It brings back childhood memories- days off from school, sledding with my brother, making snow angels- and my heart is warmed despite the freezing temperatures outside. I can't help but embrace the beauty that I see as nature drapes our dirty world in a pure and magical whiteness. It's as if the troubles, dangers, horrors, and sadness of the world disappear when I stand in the midst of the falling snow. Everything goes quiet and I am left with my thoughts; somehow these thoughts aren't frightening or negative as they usually tend to be. My mind is silent and clean like the world that surrounds me. Nature's beauty offers me a gift as I walk in this winter wonderland; I am calm- at peace with myself as well as the people and the world that surrounds me. 
Magical Snowflakes

"Snow flurries began to fall and they swirled around people's legs like house cats. It was magical, this snow globe world."

- Sarah Addison Allen, The Sugar Queen

This quote from Allen perfectly reflects how I am feeling about the snow right now. (Plus it includes a reference to cats so I can't help but like it, hah.) The snow flurries, these magical snowflakes, surround and embrace me. Likewise I embrace them.
"...snowflakes surround and embrace me."
They fall gracefully and lightly. The wind takes them easily in different directions. They find resting places on trees, rooftops, bushes, and occasionally upon my very own hooded head. Collectively they create a magical "snow globe world," a winter wonderland, and I can't help but abandon my previous opinions of the snow. How could I ever curse such a glorious sight? I find myself wholeheartedly embracing nature's beauty and the somewhat magical impact it is having on me. It has been a long time since my mind has relaxed. It seems as if my brain is constantly moving even when it should be calm. When I sit down to do nothingness my mind intercedes and forces my thoughts to spin, taking me places that I'd rather not go. As I take my walk in this winter wonderland my mind is finally able to rest. I am at ease. I am content in the present moment, not regretting the past or mourning losses that cannot be regained; I am not worried about what my future holds for me. I am able to truly be here- in this moment and place. I am so thankful for these magical snowflakes and this winter wonderland that has been gifted by nature; this snowfall has given me something I have needed and wanted for a long time now- peace. I have been blessed in my life with many things- a supportive family, educational opportunities, intellect, material possessions beyond compare, my adoring kitten- but it seems that it has forgotten to provide with me a crucial ability: the capability to find and feel peace.



Finding peace in the snow-

I am thankful and I am embracing nature's beauty, this first real snowfall, because it has worked magic for me personally. It has allowed me to be at peace with myself, with this world, with my current situation, with my tainted past and uncertain future. As I stand outside the magical snowflakes work their powers on me; they silence my mind, quell my fears, and allow me to embody peace. Peacefulness is a wonderful feeling. I hope to experience it more often in the future. I am going to share an affirmation that will hopefully enable me to find peace even when white, pure snow is not surrounding me. I encourage you to utilize this affirmation now and in the future whenever you feel the need to be calmed and filled with a sense of peace. 

Shh..be quiet brain !
A quiet mind oversees everything I do.

Although this affirmation doesn't directly reference peace, I chose it because it is exceptionally relevant to me and my own shortcoming. As I have said, I have trouble silencing my mind, stopping swirling thoughts, and allowing myself to simply be. I would like to work on embodying this affirmation. A quiet mind may be able to help me with other issues I encounter in my life- anxiety, OCD tendencies, perfectionism, self-judgment and criticism. I am thinking that a clear mind will allow me to focus more on things in life that are actually important to me- family, friends, school, personal passions, my blog- rather than things that I can rationally say are meaningless or insignificant. Who cares if my hair isn't pulled back exactly even on both sides? What does it matter if my bed isn't made (with my eight pillows perfectly aligned) before I leave my apartment? What will happen if I don't perform my morning routine in the same order every single day? Will the world end if I get an A- instead of an A? I spend so much time thinking about all these different things that I have no time to put effort into my passions and simple pleasures. I want time to read for enjoyment. I want to get an extra half hour of sleep each morning. I want to act on my desire to help spread awareness about eating disorders. I want to be able to arrive at meetings, parties, and dinners on time.
I want the freedom that comes with a quiet and peaceful mind. If I am able to embody this affirmation and silence my mind than perhaps I won't feel compelled to be, look, act, and perform perfect or perfectly all the time; it's truly exhausting and takes time from me that I would like to use in other ways. Now I find myself wondering how I managed to write an entry regarding peace and OCD/perfectionist tendencies when I started with a very simple topic: snow. Perhaps it is the magic of the snowfall that inspired the direction of my writing this afternoon. I had no idea that the weather could have such a profound influence on me. Maybe these truly are magical snowflakes and you too could benefit from having a few land on your sleeve. Go outside and take a walk in this winter wonderland. Encourage your children to play and frolic in the snow; join them if the urge arises. Embrace nature's beauty as you watch the flurries fall and as you look out upon the expanse of white that envelops our world. You may find that this first snowfall enlightens you and brings you a gift similar to that which it gave me. Allow the magical snowflakes to work their wonder on you. Don't hesitate to take a step outside; brave the cold and embrace nature's beauty. When the winter cold manages to permeate your layers and chill you to the bone you always have the option to retreat back to the warmth of your home.


Bundle up and take a walk in a winter wonderland,
xo



My own personal Winter Wonderland !


4 Days Til 2013!


These just don't seem very practical for New Year's Eve...

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