Today my work schedule was changed at the last minute because of weather. The wet, icy snow fell all day, and I was grateful to have my meetings canceled.
The extra time was a gift. I used it to catch up on some work projects from home, to talk to a friend on the phone, and to remind myself how invigorating winter weather can be. Pulling on my boots in the late afternoon, I waded through the snow drifts and stopped to watch the chickadees, woodpeckers, and titmice eating at the feeder.
Too often it seems we need a sick day or a snow storm to give us permission to goof off and relax. Why is it so hard to build healthy habits—to make wise decisions that benefit our well-being? We get so caught up in doing and giving and fixing that we forget we even have options.
Every day brings new choices. Our lives are built out of these accumulated moments. How exactly will we spend our precious time? Who will we spend it with? Where will we draw our boundaries with our Loved One? How often will we make our own self-care a priority? How will we respond when our buttons are being pushed? When will we say “no” to some things in order to say “yes” to others? When will we reach out to others for the help we need?
The AiR program reminds us that such options exist; it equips us with the tools we need to make wise decisions, even when we feel angry, hurt, or anxious.
Tess Gallagher’s poem “Choices” captures this idea beautifully, and is the perfect poem for a snowy, winter day.
Take a few moments to read the poem and to watch the video, which I recorded on today’s walk. Ponder some of the choices you make each day, whether large or small. Which ones bring you joy? Which ones may need further attention? Record your thoughts and impressions in your private journal.
BY TESS GALLAGHER
I go to the mountain side
of the house to cut saplings,
and clear a view to snow
on the mountain. But when I look up,
saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in
the uppermost branches.
I don’t cut that one.
I don’t cut the others either.
Suddenly, in every tree,
an unseen nest
where a mountain
"Choices" from Midnight Lantern: New and Selected Poems © 2011 by Tess Gallagher courtesy of Graywolf Press and poetryfoundation.org.