Meditation and My Winter Discovery by MaryBeth Tipton

October is winding down, central Ohio has reached its peak season for the fall color on our trees, and cooler weather is upon us! Part of me is resisting the change of season, while another part of me is relishing in it, and another part of me is looking forward to and already planning for the holidays. It is such a struggle to stay present.

Today during my meditation, I chose to keep my eyes open and stare out the window at the beautiful trees. I recognized my resistance to the upcoming barren trees and winter weather, and felt myself wanting to hold onto this season, as if my desires had anything to do with mother nature. It is in these moments that we find ourselves feeling an attachment to an idea or a comfort we so desire, that we must surrender to our lack of control and accept that change is the very nature of life. During meditation I had to continually redirect my thoughts to savor the moment, savor today, the colors still present on the trees, the coolness before the shiver, and allow myself to truly enjoy it without missing it before it is even gone, and without dreading the winter weather that is to come. Thinking more on my resistance during meditation, I went deeper and thought about why I was feeling so resistant, and decided to release that feeling and replace it with curiosity.

In my self-discovery, all I could come up with was “I don’t like winter”. Then curiosity hit me. What do I not like about winter? I could only list 3 things: I don’t like being cold, I don’t like driving in icy conditions, and I don’t like to have to wait in long lines when shopping. Is there anything to like about winter? Why not just change how I currently feel about winter and decide to like it? Why must I feel differently about winter as compared to the other seasons? Suddenly I realized I had an attachment to a belief, a belief that I don’t like winter, and that belief was preventing me from enjoying the outgoing season of fall and the incoming season of winter. That belief was interfering with my presence, making me feel melancholy about what is pending.

Once I allowed my curiosity to run rampant, I shifted my perspective and discovered I actually love winter. I love shopping and gift giving, and that just happens to be associated with Christmas and the holiday season. I love fires and curling up with a blanket. I love winter because Courtney and Kyle were both born in the winter, and we get to celebrate their birth in January and February. I love winter because I love to decorate the house with snowmen and the color red, and I enjoy my sparkling Christmas trees. I love winter because I tend to spend more time at home during the shorter days which lends to me spending more time in my kitchen, and more time with Larry and Jack. I love winter because I am more apt to take a luxurious bath with candlelight and classical music playing. I love winter because Larry is more likely to want to cuddle with me. I love winter because at Christmastime I look forward to receiving cards in the mail from friends and family I haven’t seen in years. I love winter because our family spends time together at Christmastime. I love winter because I get to wear my boots, cozy sweaters and scarves. I love winter because I get to see a few Columbus Blue Jackets hockey games. And finally, I love winter because during the winter months, I spend many days, okay weeks, in sunny Florida! I know, that one stung a little, but I had to add it because it’s the truth!

So to get to my point…If you find yourself unable to stay in the present moment, and looking ahead with anticipation that prevents your enjoyment of today, then recognize what you are doing, dig a little deeper with curiosity as to why, and then change your perspective. If you are holding onto yesterday and unable to truly live with vitality in the present, then shift your perspective by looking in front of you, not behind. If you find yourself dwelling too long in the past or the future, then just reel yourself back to the present moment. The very act of recognizing your thoughts and feelings, releasing them, and refocusing is meditation.

Meditation is a magical time of self-discovery that can lead to a much more peaceful existence. Meditating for just ten minutes feels like pushing a reset button on your day, allowing you to regain control of your thoughts and feelings. That time you spend in silence, looking with curiosity within yourself, will help you grow and develop as you begin to process the events of your life and the meaning that you have given them that might not necessarily be true. You might discover a false belief, a fear or an attachment that you can now release and move through. Transformation takes place when you drop whatever story you are telling yourself and open your heart to the truth. Our awareness of self and the act of working through those layers can be both uncomfortable and liberating. But in the end, the reward is truly a much happier, peaceful life, and it all starts with mindfulness and meditation.