I escaped the practiced tolerance of winter in Michigan to celebrate its wonder in the great north of Traverse City. For those of us from the greater Detroit area, winter is too often understood and experienced as the painful moments that occur between our labor and leisure: rising while darkness lingers; counting the seconds with heavy breath as our cars unfreeze and begin to emit warmth upon our being; careless drivers that elicit rage within us that we didn’t know existed; the inkling of hope that either school or work will be canceled or acceptably missed due to an immense snow fall, below freezing temperatures, along with anything else that falls under the blanket term, “Snowpocalypse”.
While submerged within the grind, we lose touch of the beautiful subtleties there are to be appreciated during winter in Michigan. While in the midst of prevailing cold and darkness, such beauties are easily abandoned in the wake of spending hours shoveling our driveway for the third time in a week; or removing the accumulated snowfall on top of your car with your bare hand because you have either not found your wiper from the year before, or have been to off-put by the task itself to purchase one in the first place. While the weight of winter seems to weigh heaviest as a result of the brutal conditions, I believe the cold of winter causes individuals to look within themselves for warmth, and in those that look but do not find – panic ensues. It is during the winter months most of all that we must be our own source of inspiration and hope. Quit looking around the room, close your eyes, take a breath, and accept that you must start showing up, or continue fleeing from your happiness and potential. Please understand, once you start running it’s difficult to ever stop. Let the coldness of this winter help you find balance and harmony within yourself so that you can be armed with the proper tools to seek it in the world! If you so choose to ignore the necessity of being a little happy along the way, you will eternally suffer, and fail to ever arrive at the conceptualized mirage of happiness you have manifest upon the horizon.
Happiness ought to be more present within, when the climate is less likely to insist it! I often understand happiness as the presence and participation of passion in my daily life. This could be realized in something big or something small; in something silly or something serious; the only thing that matters is the passion is an extension of your soul and self and ultimately recognition of yourself in the physical world. Myself is realized and recognized in the places I travel; in the conversations I share, and the thoughts I translate into words with my fingers. My passion is reciprocated in the bright-shining-smile of a stranger I just made acquaintance with: in his or her belief that the world needs our species to be inspired and turn that inspiration into action that will translate into our mutual beneficence: in his or her hope that people like us will continue to surface and be present in a society that conditions us to act, think and feel otherwise! Life void of inspiration and passion will not endure, only perish. Surviving is not an acceptable personal philosophy: like flowers we must collect energy in the form of positive light and flourish in ascension towards the source of life! Discover yourself in your beautiful passion and dreams this winter so next winter you can help another you care for do the same!