Mindset! It's where it all begins.
Let me start by sharing a small story.
2017 was my first real experience of Canadian winter. We moved from +50˚ in Dubai to -30˚ in Dwight. The only two things that were common between the 2 places was the letter ‘D’ of the two cities and me. The ability to cope with the Canadian winters was my biggest concern. During my Xmas visits, Dan and the boys would try their damndest (if that is a word) to get me to go out and ‘enjoy’ the winter – “let’s go skiing, mom”, or sledding or “let's just make a snowman” or even just “come on out, mom”, they would say. And I was having none of it, in my mind it was wayyyyyyyyy tooooo cold to ‘ENJOY’.
December 2017 dad wasn’t too well and needed regular trips to the hospital for a hyperbaric treatment. This cold windy winter day, it was my turn to do the run with dad. I was all bundled up with my winter coat, hat, neck warmer and gloves. The whole 9 yards of winter protection was on. I needed to walk from the parking lot to the hospital entrance, where I would take it all off for 15 minutes and then put it all back on, for the 2 minute walk to the car.
As I walked up from the treatment room, I was bracing myself for the cold that was about to hit me as I walked out of the hospital. In my head and possibly out aloud I was muttering “it’s F&^%$ng COLD”; “man this weather is going to be the death of me”; “dayuummm this jacket is heavy, such a pallava for just a couple of minutes” (I think you get my drift of thoughts verbalised in a mutter).
Prepped in my head, jacket buttoned up, I hid every body part possible from the anticipated cold wind, continuing my muttering as I walked through the sliding doors of the hospital into the cold wind. And for a fleeting nanosecond, the feeling of the cold wind was refreshing … yes, it was refreshing; in fact, it was nice. Thankfully, since I had started the practice of mindfulness, that nanosecond registered in my awareness. I acted on that nanoseconds worth of awareness, turned back and went inside the hospital again – I wanted to experience more nanoseconds of that refreshing feeling. To do that I needed to change something, so I changed my self talk, my head prep, and told myself – “we are going to do this WITHOUT any expectations” (I have a habit of addressing myself as we - I, me and myself). Take 2 was me casually buttoning up my jacket, layering up as a normal Canadian would do and without any chatter or covering of my face; I walked out, and it was cold and awesome!
From then to today: it’s a beautiful sunny white day today and -17. I love walking out of my office in a fleece T-shirt, fleece lined pants, on my deck and enjoy the winter freshness, the beauty of the monochromes that come with the season. I love my walks in the many trails around here. I love that my daughter’s school will keep children playing outside till it’s – 21 allowing her to develop a healthy mindset for nature and all seasons. I walk to her school to get her and walk back skipping, catching up, telling stories and teaching Quinn, our husky mix dog to pull Ella on her sled! – so much fun!
This one hospital incident changed my mindset for winters, and boy am I glad it did ‘cause this is where I choose to live and there will be a minimum of 4 cold months, 33% of the year, 120 days of my life every year.
So what’s your self talk? What are the things that you have a limiting mindset on? You can change it, all you need is:
1. Awareness of your limiting self talk.
2. In the moment of awareness, have the willingness to experience a different reality.
3. Just be in that moment and experience, notice and thank.
Take your power back - it all begins with your mindset!