I hate snow. I hated snow through much of my childhood, then I hated it in Ohio for a year. By the time I had gotten through three years of living in Chicago? I was through. I’ve been utterly done with snow since at least 1990.
Waking up to snow frequently triggers negative memories and associations for me. It’s cold. It’s wet. It floods my mind and body with memories of feeling unprotected, unsafe and unhappy. For many years in my adult life, it also represented a dangerous loss of income in the days before telemental health came to save both my clients’ work and my bottom line in inclement weather.
All of this is true… But it isn’t all that’s true.
I have to admit, that cold, wet stuff clinging to the trees and grass in my neighborhood, with the early morning sunlight streaming through is quite lovely. More than that, I’m aware that the snow will contribute to a positive water table when it melts. That will help the plants grow healthfully in Spring, and help to keep us from drought when the Summer sun tries to parch us. The snow is cosseting the branches of the trees. Deep inside the limbs, an entire world of bugs and microbes are being held in a kind of stasis, preserving them until it warms up and they can reawaken and take their place in the ecosystem.
Those are some beautiful bug blankets!
Human emotions are formed by our nanosecond assessments of the situations in front of us. When I assess that snow represents an existential threat, by body chemically fires for depression, sadness and overwhelm. When I consider the beauty of the snow glinting in the sunlight and positively contributing to ecological well being, my body chemically fires for joy, gratitude and appreciation.
Holding both truths has the power to keep me from spiraling into depression. It keeps me looking for the good and living in a state of hope. It’s still cold and wet and I’d still rather not ever be in it ever again. And, I can walk in gratitude, open to new possibilities and hope, even in the presence of “the other 4-letter ‘s’ word.”
The next time you find yourself faced with assessments that leave you in negativity, anxiety, fear or any other unpleasant emotions, I challenge you to consider what else is true in the situation. You aren’t ignoring the things that aren’t okay, but you are reminding yourself that the negativity is only one piece of a much more complex puzzle. That simple act of shifting perspective can balance your body chemistry, steering you away from anxious or depressive overwhelm and into hopefulness and creative problem solving.
Wishing you warmth, play and endless potential!
If you would like help and support in shifting your emotions to something that works better for you, please fill out the Contact Me box on this page.