Happy March! Spring is almost within reach but those of us who have lived in Northern Michigan for a long time know — the winter season is definitely not over yet.
If you’re really starting to feel that cabin fever boredom and find yourself wanting to just count down the days until spring, I want to recommend three alternatives to help get you through these often cold, gray days!
In my last two posts, I mentioned how we tend to associate warmer weather with happier times, and how this is symptomatic of our cultural penchant for overemphasizing the big experiences of our lives over the small, seemingly mundane moments.
What’s the value of embracing the mundane?
There’s nothing inherently wrong with setting big goals and looking forward to big experiences–it’s what helps us endure these cold winter months that often extend into April.
But I’m convinced that the real key to presenting the best version of yourself, creating lasting change, and living purposefully lies not in the magical, but in the ordinary moments of our lives.
Here is author Paul Tripp’s take on it:
The reality is that few smokers have actually quit because of a single moment of resolve. Few obese people have become slim because of one dramatic moment of commitment. Few people who were deeply in debt have changed their financial lifestyles because they resolved to do so as the old year gave way to the new. And few marriages have been changed by means of one dramatic resolution. The point: True lasting change is more of a mundane process than a series of dramatic events. Our lives don’t lurch from big moment to big moment. We all live in the utterly mundane. So don’t devalue the little moments of life – the true character of a life is not set in one or two or three dramatic moments, but in thousands of little moments. The character and wisdom that is formed in those little moments shape how we respond to the big moments of our lives.
Part 1 of this series highlighted the benefits of celebrating small wins and featured the four categories of leadership expert Craig Groeschel’s “win buckets.”
Part 2 discussed the big benefits of disrupting your routine, even in small ways, and featured valuable insights from my favorite book of 2019, Playful Intelligence, by author Anthony DeBenedet.
#3. Lower your Wonder Threshold
In his book, Building a Discipleship Culture, Mike Breen distinguishes between two types of time.
Chronos time is what we live in every day; it’s the dreaded 6:00 am alarm or the 30 excruciating minutes stuck in traffic on your way home from work. It’s the minute-by-minute time that governs our lives.
Kairos time is different. It’s God’s time. It’s metaphysical–outside of normal time. It’s the magical moments watching your 6-month-old sleeping, or simply pausing to relish how lucky you are to be married to your spouse.
Recognizing Kairos time is part of the experience of wonder, and the people who can connect with that sense of wonder that was part of their childhood but so often falls away during adulthood are the ones who seem to thrive in the midst of the mundane.
Cultivating Kairos moments is a great example of lowering our threshold for expressing a sense of wonder in our everyday lives.
Poet Walt Whitman was well known for his keen sense of wonder by noticing and enjoying his surroundings. Here’s what one of Whitman’s biographers wrote about him:
Strolling through a city or through a forest–it was evident that these things gave him a pleasure far beyond what they gave to ordinary people. Until I knew the man, it had not occurred to me that someone could derive so much absolute happiness from these things as he did. Perhaps no man who ever lived liked so many things and disliked as few as Walt Whitman. All natural objects seemed to have a charm for him. All sights and sounds seemed to please him.
This observation reveals to me the advantage people with a low threshold for seeing the beauty and wonder in everyday life have over people who harbor a “been there, done that” attitude that requires an ever-increasing experience level to bring satisfaction—making them constantly susceptible to boredom or worse, depression.
After all, there’s plenty to savor and celebrate right here, right now.
How do you deal with the cold and cloudiness of winter? Do you simply bide your time until spring or do you find ways to enjoy it? Did you find the information and action steps in this three-part series helpful? I’d love to hear your feedback!