It is winter and there is no doubt about it. We have had a lot of snow yesterday and today, possibly about 10-12 inches. The roads look like some wonderland-all the trees are laced with white, the landscape is pure snow-white and everything seems slower (including cars). That is winter: a time of introspection, a time to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. Whether it be shoveling the snow or making dinner, it can all be something beautiful if we are mindful. Last evening, I came home early, and cooked a leisurely dinner of rajma (white cannelini beans) in gravy, served with naan. As the aromas of garam masala and cumin wafted in the air, so did my spirit. By the time daalu came home, dinner was ready. It is a blessing this winter-it is so cold out that one has to slow down and enjoy the simple comforts. Of having a warm home and warm cooked food and someone you love, to share it with.
I remember as a kid, reading this poem which had lines as:
great wealth has December
For December can remember.
It went on to describe all the rest of the months whose memories have accumulated for December. That is exactly what this season is about..Enjoying and appreciating all that we have in our lives.
While, slowing down is part of the winter, it is also the beginning of the holiday season. Next week on Thursday, we will leave for our trip to India. It is hard to believe, but two years have flown by since my last trip to my homeland. What just seems like yesterday is now back in time. And I’m at the brink of a new threshold-new memories to be created as our family gets together again. The anticipation is there, and sometimes its all I can think of. And yet, I know that by living in the present right now, and letting go of all the expectations, I will only be better able to live in the moment when I’m there and enjoy our time even more. So, I came up with a mantra to preserve my equanimity in the face of the joy (and the sorrow which inevitably hits when we get back from the trip!):
let go of all expectations
let go of control
simply sit back
and go with the flow
My meditation has been to prepare myself for this, by practicing non-grasping. When we go through good times, we want to hang on to them and not let them go. But time always passes and things always change, that is inevitable. And when we feel sad, we want to run away from the sorrow. But thats not possible either, because there is nowhere to run. So, the practice of non-grasping is to simply experience all the emotions without trying to control them-and to let them go. For the fact that nothing is permanent and everything changes, only makes this moment more special.
Here is to all of us practicing equanimity during the holidays. To find peace in both the joy and the sadness. And to be compassionate to ourselves through it all (especially if travel is involved!).
Sending peace, S.