Lessons from a Snowstorm

As I put in my usual work week leading up to the forecasted storm, many clients seemed to look forward to the weather but for reasons having nothing to do with the beauty of a snowfall, the ability to enjoy the snow on a sled or on skis, or the exercise they would get from shoveling. Every single person who talked about the storm, including myself, made note, in one way or another, that there would be no expectations of them during the storm. Every. Single One. One even said, “I can do nothing and have no guilt.”

It made me wonder….what if we could choose when we did ‘nothing’ and not subject ourselves to feelings of guilt, without regard to the weather forecast?

So here is what has become abundantly clear to me: we can. Right now. What I know is that I make up all sorts of rules about what I give myself permission to do without guilt. I have come to understand that I have a little dude who sits on my shoulder and whispers “You don’t have time for that (to sit, to nap, to watch a movie, to read a book, to exercise….blah, blah, blah)”. He has always been there – and when I discovered him, (yes…he goes by “he” but is actually a small, green, wrinkly, thing — like the personification of fungus, actually), I also discovered that he holds me back from fully embracing what I want in my life. He keeps me small and safe and doing all the “right” things. What’s also true, is that many of these “right” things, don’t actually matter. I won’t bore you here with what actually matters, because it is irrelevant. What matters to me may not matter to you and vice versa. But what is clear to me, is that when I flick this fungus off of my shoulder (I literally put my fingers to my left shoulder and flick him right off as soon as I recognize his presence), the things that really, really matter to me are unable to be ignored.

Forget the snowstorm for a moment. Have you ever been on the beach with someone looking out at the ocean and they keep saying, “See those things sticking out of the water?” “Those things” are obvious to your friend, but all you see are white capped waves and foam. Finally, after squinting and cupping your hand over your eyes for shade, you see “those things”. You actually can’t believe you haven’t been able to see them all along. In fact, you can’t unsee them, now. The herd of seals swimming across the horizon….how could you have missed that? They are beautiful.

When I embrace all that is beautiful, and all that matters to me, and ignore my fungus (some people call them gremlins), I am surrendering my tendency to be a victim. A martyr. I am surrendering my frustration and panic about having to do it “all”. I am surrendering the story I have made up about what perfection looks like. I am replacing it with a shift towards what matters. To me. What really, really matters becomes the next, right thing. I cannot unsee it. And I joyfully choose that.

So regardless of the weather forecast, my life forecast is to live with intention and without guilt. And the freedom in that is as beautiful as a winter snowfall.