While the day has been filled with many blessings there are two moments (or series of moments) which really stick out and are thing I haven’t blogged about in the past.
This morning after I showered I got only about halfway dressed. I donned only my shorts and a pair of shoes. I grabbed my phone and I stepped outside. In a temperature of approximately 1 degree (Fahrenheit), 85% humidity and 6mph winds I stood in only my shorts and shoes. For seven minutes I had couple of songs playing quietly in the background on my phone. I reached my arms out to maximize the surface area of the cold air. Over the next seven minutes I focused only on my breathing. It was incredible.
While breathing and doing nothing else but existing in the moment the present seemed more clear than ever. The birds quickly flew back to the nearby bird feeders and paid no attention to me. They quickly realized that I intended no harm to them and resumed their breakfast. The gusts of wind sent ghosts of snow across the field. Each inhale was intensely crisp in a profoundly satisfying way as I drew air in through my nose and expanded it from my belly up through my chest before exhaling.
Rather than hiding in “the pain cave” and avoiding the sensations I savored each every single second of it. Interestingly enough, I wasn’t cold in the least. The breathing and my practice in cold kept me plenty warm. Each time the wind would increase I would relish the feel of it going across my bare skin and tickling each hair as it rushed past. I felt intensely alive and was hyper tuned in to the present. What an excellent seven minute extreme cold meditation!
After spending many moments yesterday thinking about my personal values, purpose, and goals for next year there was a lot of residual impact today. Several times I caught myself about to act or about to say something and then thought back to my values. In an instant I was able to rinse it against the sieve of my values to catch the impurities. Unfortunately there were more times when I caught myself AFTER I’d already acted or said something. Nothing major, but mildly frustrating as it helped me see there’s a lot of gap for me to cover.
What I’m most grateful for about those moments today was the residual impact of focusing on my values yesterday. After spending time in thought on my values yesterday it brought them back to the forefront of my brain and I was much more cognizant of them. One of the “Top 3 Starting Doing” activities I’m considering this year is to start my morning with a quick review of my values. Today certainly has pushed me more strongly in that direction.