I have a distinct memory of my first stint living in Chicago in my twenties, riding home on the Foster bus on Valentine’s day. It had been snowing hard for hours, big flakes piling up everywhere, and I wasn’t prepared in any way. I had on high heels and a dress (unusual for me—especially the heels) and my head was full of work and all kinds of other busi-ness . So my reaction to the soft onslaught was more wistful than welcoming.
“One of these days, I’m going to slow down and enjoy this kind of treat.”
As I climbed off the bus into ankle deep drifts, I realized I wouldn’t escape ruined shoes and “OMG isn’t this gorgeous.” And with that, ‘one of these days’ arrived. Instead of picking my way home, worried, I leapt along, mimicking a deer, loving the moment, loving the cold, loving ‘the now.’
Nature sure has a way of grabbing us by the face and getting our full attention. I’ve remembered and been motivated by this moment countless times over the years. My personal ‘seize the day’ hallmark. It came to mind today as I sat down after breakfast overwhelmed by tasks ahead with Christmas 10 days away and a 2 week-long cold still sapping my energy.
As I remembered that Valentine’s snow storm, I landed smack in this moment—now—and of everything that battled for importance, sharing in this blog won. (Okay, so I hopped up to make a gingerbread, source some songs, and write a whopping two (yes 2!) Christmas cards along the way … but focus has never been a strength of mine!) Overcoming that separation from ‘now’ is just what I needed. And I don’t think I’m alone in that; if even half the ‘how to survive the holidays’ articles have an audience, it sure seems a common predicament. But, in a lot of circumstances, just as easily overcome. Change your mind. Snap. A split second decision. Then act on it.
So I lit some candles and a balsam fir stick and I put on music that makes me feel bubbly inside. (Vince Guaraldi Trio playing Für Elise. Today I’m reliving the innocence of Schroeder and of Charlie Brown’s Christmas.)
More than that, I’m actively filling my head with thoughts grounded in ‘now’… reconnecting to the sense of what Norwegians call hygge (pronounced hoo-guh—isn’t that great?!). I have recently read of this in several places, that it means more than just ‘cozy,’ and love Olivia Goldhill’s description of what hygge is: “… a sense of intimacy, togetherness and inner warmth, a world lit by candles and snuggled under blankets.”
So, I wish you all hygge. Now. Not later. And I look forward to hearing your stories of stepping into the now.