Sunday, February 18, 2007

Warming the Soul

We've had our snow. We've had our sub-zero temperatures. We've had our sleet, freezing rain and icy roads. Though short-lived, this recent round of arctic weather has provide enough winter for me.

Even the canine kids have had enough.

It's been really cold.

Elsie is the first to come in from the outdoors lately, and she bee-lines for the woodstove. She nestles close and never seems to get too warm.

When people's laps aren't available, the wood stove is her warming-place of choice.

Watching her got me thinking: what are my warming places? What warms my heart when life chills me to the bone?

First and foremost, loved ones (that includes Dear Hubby, kidlets, my sibs, Mom, friends, etc.).

Just like Elsie, it's the people with whom I walk through life that warm me best.

And my canine family, of course (they make me feel loved and valued, and they make me smile like nothing else).

But what about when loved-ones aren't available (human or canine)? What brings warmth and life to my soul when a "human lap" or canine muzzle isn't nearby?

Here's just a partial list:
  • Personal words (notes of enouragement or appreciation I've received over the years -- I save them in a "joy box" in my office so I can reread them when I need a boost)
  • Literary words (good books)
  • Inspirational words (Scripture passages, quotes, etc.)
  • Music (ah...sweet music. I SO respond to uplifting melodies and lyrics)
  • A steaming cup of tea (if it's evening) or coffee (if it's morning)
  • Birds feeding at my birdfeeders (unaware that I'm observing them)
  • A blazing fire in the woodstove (or a roaring campfire)
  • Candlelight
  • The absence of man-made noise (no TV, radio, stereo, MP3 player, computer, cell phone, house phone, trucks, jets, cars, snowmobiles, motorcycles, or four-wheelers)
  • Sounds in nature (wind, a trickling stream, the tides and ocean waves)
  • A walk in the woods
  • Writing (journaling, blogging, etc.)
  • Reflecting on what's good and right and helpful in my world
  • Remembering how blessed I am compared to most people on this planet (I have food, clothing, shelter, safety, etc.)
  • Quiet rest or sleep
It's amazing: as I look at this list, I'm reminded that the best things in life truly are free. These things cost little monetarily; they only cost time.

And sometimes, investing time in one of these is the best thing I can do for myself (and for others, as a result).

What brings warmth to your soul? In what could you invest time this weekend (it is a "holiday" weekend after all) to renew your energy and restore your emotional well-being?

Funny, isn't it, how our Labs teach us to take time for warmth and restoration. What they know by instinct, we have to learn (the hard way).

I wish I'd learned to take time for heart-warming moments sooner. But it's never too late.

I think I hear a cup of tea calling my name. :o)

'Til next time,


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