Category: Grace

Dealing with snow (& other unexpected things in life).

SnoJoke_Now that baseball season is officially underway, I feel like I can talk about the winter that was. During the season, it would have been like talking about a no-hitter while a no-hitter is happening — you just don’t do it. But, now that it appears we’ll be breaking 60° for a few consecutive days, I feel like I can talk about the whole thing.

First, let’s rewind a little bit.

At the beginning of January, we had no idea what the jet stream had in store for us. There was little snow at the beginning of the winter season. And then, that quickly changed. By the end of January, the Boston area was suffering from what an op-ed in the Times called a “slow-motion natural disaster of historic proportions.”

There was snow. And more snow. And more than enough snow. And enough snow, already. The birdbath in our backyard is evidence. These four shots from 1/27, 1/28, 2/8, 2/9, respectively, perfectly capture that progression. And while it only took a couple weeks to amount to the snowiest winter on record, it took longer than that to melt. As I sit here, mid-April, there are still piles of snow resting in shadowy backyards across the area.

So, how did we get here? To April with our now snow-free commute? What are the tips I put into practice when dealing with the unexpected?

1. Learned a new thing or two.
In January, I had no idea what a snow rake was, let alone that a snow rake even existed. I didn’t know what an ice dam was. And I also didn’t know that you could put ice-melt in pantyhose and place it on your roof to help alleviate the aforementioned ice dam.

When you’re forced to deal with a physical (or emotional) situation, you learn how to get through it. How to survive (relatively unscathed). How to learn and grow and become smarter and stronger because of it. That’s what you do. That’s what I did.

2. Practiced patience. In all things.
From the day after our first snowstorm (1/28) until as recently as March 30, the commuter rain line that I ride suffered from massive delays, cancellations and a so-called “recovery schedule.” It left us standing in the cold (literally). It left us driving to other train lines. And one week I didn’t make it to work until noon every day.

Eventually, one way or another, we all make it to some end point that we expected to be at or that we’ve accepted we’re at. We don’t give up, pitch fits or whine about it though — that doesn’t do anyone any good at all. It’s easier said than done, but having a little patience with ourselves, and with others, goes a long way.

3. Turned the frown, upside down. 
You have never seen a group of people more upset than the collective greater Boston population was this winter. But hey guys, we were all in it together, amiright?

Unexpected situations are much easier to face with a positive outlook. And while it’s easy to say “everything happens for a reason,” it’s sometimes much harder to actually believe it. I’ve found that finding the reason (or reasons) sometimes make dealing with the tough shit harder at first. But in the long run, it’s somewhat soothing and definitely easier to get behind with rose-colored glasses.

4. Looked ahead.
Spring was on my mind’s horizon since January.

Yes. I knew that official spring wasn’t for 60-some days. And I knew that unofficial spring (aka warm weather) would be several more days past that. But I didn’t let that get me down. It goes right along with that positive outlook. Listen,

You’ve got to weather the storm to see the rainbow.

In seasons, in life, in the expected and the unexpected, it’s so true — you have to weather the storm. Life has thrown me plenty of curveballs of all speeds, but I’ve managed to foul them off and keep this thing going. (baseball metaphors all the way.) I/You/We have to. That’s how I’ve managed. I’d like to know how you get through the big, small, crazy, ugly and everything else life has thrown at you recently.

Photo.

One Little Word for 2015

I recently shared some links about the idea of choosing a word to guide your year. Did you click through? Have you chosen a word for the new year?

I’ve thought a lot about how choosing a word to guide my year. I’ve gone between active words and passive words. I’ve thought about adjectives and verbs. I’ve considered words that have two and three meanings.

At first I thought I had settled on a word that I’ve heard too many times over the past several months,

BRAVE.

But while I know it’s necessary to be brave, I’m not sure it’s a word that should define my year. If anything I’ve learned that it’s hard to be brave but sometimes even harder to be vulnerable. So, to choose BRAVE as my guiding word seems an unworthy challenge.

Instead, I thought I would choose a word that I can aspire to. A word that can help me focus my intentions on something positive and calming. A word that can be celebrated, danced and written,

GRACE.

noun: elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, oraction; favor or goodwill; mercy
verb: to favor or honor; to lend grace to
The Hemingway quote, above, “Courage is grace under pressure,” reminds me of how diamonds are made—coal under pressure. I like to believe that by fixating on grace I will find more courage for the everyday. And by showing grace toward others I hope to be more accepting, more patient (the latter being one of my mini-resolutions for the year.)
Did you choose a word for the year? Do you still need a word? Learn more here, here and here. I’d love to hear your word or your intention for the year.