Thursday, January 02, 2014

Cold Again

It didn't get much above zero again today. I had -20 on my thermometer at 5AM. I'm wondering if this past December has been one of the coldest we've experienced in northwestern Wisconsin. And with the consistent cold temperatures I found myself going back through author Timothy Scott Bennett's Facebook updates to find where he talked about his experience with the cold and the stories he tells himself about it. With a little persistence I found it. It was a pleasure to read again before I get ready to go out for another run in below zero temperatures.

TSB's update from 12/17: "Isn't it amazing? I get up and it's 4° F below and still there are gulls in the sky, still there are crows looking for handouts, still there are deer stepping quietly across the driveway trying not to wake anyone. How do they do it, I won...der, and why can't I? Over the years, I've schooled myself to walk barefoot on the ground, and can now easily do so when it's 15-20°F. I go out without coat and hat for as long as I can, and let the wind rip right through me. It seems that story and fear and culture and belief are as much a factor as anything else, when it comes to our experience of cold. So I work at that level, knowing that I won't always be able to control my external circumstances, knowing that the stories inside of me will determine my experience just as much as any outside force, knowing that if I can meet things like cold, hunger, and discomfort without fear and judgment that that will give me an edge, knowing that Nietzsche was right about what makes me stronger. In the end, it's my resistance to what's so - whether it be cold, heat, biting ants, or feelings of anger or grief- that causes me all of my suffering. The story 'this should not be' creates so much of my upset. And it's a silly story, don't you think, as anything that "should not be" surely "is" already. The cold surely "is." And I think the gulls and crows and deers just take it as such, with no thought of personal punishment, no offense, no inner mumbling of 'this should not be.' Thank you, teachers."

No comments: