Monday, January 2, 2012

Seasonal Santosha

Now that the holidays are officially over, I've noticed more and more people grumbling about the long winter ahead of them, wishing they could hasten the arrival of springtime and skip the cold winter months altogether.  I try my best not to join in on the complaining, but sometimes I get frustrated by the inadequate central heat in our apartment and the limited hours of winter daylight and I find myself longing for the warm sunny days of summer.

This winter, instead of grumbling about the cold and the dark, I hope to develop a sense of "seasonal santosha" or "climate contentment."  I want to focus on appreciating the wonderful things that make this time of year so special and unique.

I love the visual delights of winter - a perfect 6-sided snowflake caught in the palm of my gloved hand, the brilliant red of a cardinal perched on a bare tree limb, the imprint of a freshly-made snow angel.

I love the music of winter - the rhythmic crunch of my boots in the snow, the melodic laughter of children sledding in my neighbors' yard, the haunting voice of the winter wind breaking up the silence of a long dark night.

I love the tangible pleasures of winter - the softness of my son's fleece footie-pajamas, the weight of my down comforter wrapping me in warmth as I sleep, the blazing heat of a hearth-fire.

I love the intoxicating smells of winter - freshly-baked cookies cooling on metal racks, long hot baths infused with scented oils, the mix of musky chimney smoke and crisp cold winter air.

I love the luxurious tastes of winter - the pots of spiced tea I share with my husband in the evenings, freshly-baked bread soaked in homemade soup, my favorite chocolates that I get once a year on Valentines Day.

So, the next time I find myself fantasizing about spring flowers and sandals and sundresses, I'll remind myself that the winter has its own joys...that without these cold dark months we wouldn't have icicles and snowmen and big cozy sweaters and steaming cups of hot cocoa and so many other wonderful things.

- Lori

Sunday, January 1, 2012

10 Goals for 2012

So, I'm not a huge fan of new year's resolutions...I really don't like the idea of people trying to "fix" themselves as soon as the clock strikes 12 on New Year's Eve.  As far as I'm concerned, I'm already pretty great as is.  So, instead of a list of resolutions, here's a list of things I look forward to doing in 2012:

1. Create a work of art that I like enough to frame and hang in my apartment.
It doesn't have to be a masterpiece, and I don't have to display it forever. But I'm an artist and all the walls in my apartment are blank which is pretty ridiculous!

2. Grow a plant, from a seed, and then eat it.
Someday I dream of owning a little house with a tiny yard and a huge veggie garden.  For now, I'll happily enjoy growing some herbs in my sunny kitchen windows.

3. Run a mile, nonstop.
I don't have to be especially fast and I don't need to look good doing it.  I just want enough speed and stamina to outrun the undead in case of a zombie apocalypse.

4. Go on 12 perfect dates with my amazing husband.
Possible date options include mini-golf, live jazz, local art, stand-up comedy, bowling, and drive-in movies.

5. Learn how to play a new song on my guitar.
This will require me to dust off my poor neglected guitar, tune it, and practice 'till my fingers toughen up again...I'm up for the challenge.

6. Do one perfect Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
I've always struggled with upper-body strength and fantasize about someday doing an "un-modified" Sun Salutation. 

7. Spend a full day volunteering.
That's a full 24 hours. They don't have to be consecutive...I just want to spend at least 1 day out of the next 365 helping others.  It's not nearly enough, but it's a start.

8. Bake a lattice-crust pie from scratch.
Preferably with berries I pick myself at a local farm.  I want to bake it on a sunny summer day, letting the breeze from my kitchen windows cool it, and then share it with people that I love.

9. Spend a day in NYC.
This day will (most likely) include a long walk through central park, a visit to at least one major museum, and meals shared with old friends at new restaurants.  I lived in the city for five will always feel a little bit like home to me.

10. Teach my son how to walk...
...and talk and swim and sing and dance and give kisses and wave "bye-bye" and so much more.  He'll probably teach me just as much in the process.

So many amazing things to look forward to.  I hope you all are anticipating a wonderful year ahead of you as well!

- Lori