Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters


Expect the Unexpected; Embrace the Changing

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Snow_02.jpgHow’s the weather by you?

It’s snowing here again in my home of Northern Vermont. This is not too unusual. It also snowed in Irving Texas, sight of the Super Bowl tomorrow. That is unusual.
Last week much of the country was under snow. 
The weather is a great teacher of what the Buddha called anicca — impermanence, especially here in New England where the weather changes so rapidly.
This morning the sun shone brilliant off the foot and half of snow that fell on Wednesday. I enjoyed the smell of wood smoke as I headed out for a snowshoe with my dog, cutting a track in the snow for later hiking and running. 
But now it’s snowing again and will fill in our tracks! Tomorrow we’ll be at it again. The weather never stops, breathing never stops, all the cycles of life continue. 
The changing weather can be a metaphor for our changing moods and energy. It can be sunny in the morning and stormy in the evening. Tomorrow, who knows what the weather will be? We can count on it changing, though, and not take any of it too seriously. 
I was editing Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants in the winter of 2008. I wrote about shoveling my long driveway. The story of that task was an unpleasant prospect; the actual doing of it was something else. In the moment, one action follows the next. I didn’t have to shovel the “whole” driveway, just this piece right here, right now. I thought about that the other night shoveling the heavy snow of the past storm and I’ll remember it tonight and tomorrow as I shovel this current storm.
In a way, this is our work in living a mindful life — keep shoveling. Persist with what we are doing in the moment and don’t allow our stories to get us discouraged. If we fight the changes — the impermanence — we’ll get weary. It takes energy to resist. If we embrace what is happening now, we can find peace in whatever is happening.
So, if it’s snowing by you, enjoy the snow! If it’s raining by you, enjoy the rain. If it’s grey by you, enjoy the grey. If its sunny by you, enjoy the sun. Kiss everything as it goes by. Enjoy this moment. 


  • terranova

    I live in New Jersey. We were expecting snow, icy rain and then rain, but it is just rain Thank God. This morning the roads were slick on the way in to work, and plain wet on the way home. I can picture you about with your snowshoes and dog this morning. The picture is heavenly. How wonderful to view Gods creations early in the morn, unspoiled, pure…ahh breathe taking!! Thanks for the photo. I love trees.

  • Colleen

    “Grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference”.
    I realized quite some time ago that I cannot do anything about the weather, so I might as well enjoy whatever is presented in the moment:>)
    I have to laugh at the number of times I move the same molecules! Shovel the snow from the driveway, until it melts into the cellar, when it needs to be pumped back outside, where it evaporates into the atmosphere and comes back down as snow, which needs to be shoveled out of the driveway, melts back into the cellar…etc. etc…LOL!
    Mother Nature must be having a good laugh, and so am I:>)

  • Barb

    Arnie, do you know the poem, “Shoveling Snow with Buddha” by Billy Collins? It’s marvelous, you’ll enjoy it.

  • Ann

    My husband and I are in process of forecloseure, but we are Buddhist. This article brings home the “ever=changeingness of life”. It’s how we know we are alive, the only guarentee we have is change. The Doc is right, resistance takes more energy. Directed change however perserves sanity.

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