Monday, December 20, 2010
So why should we make ourselves uncomfortable? Why should we go out in the pouring freezing rain when a room temperature room beckons us homeward? I think it's a good idea to occasionally push ourselves to be uncomfortable (and I don't mean just using soggy towels). To experience a greater range of existence than a narrow band of clean, dry, climate-controlled living. What is it like to feel the rain on your face? Dripping down your back? A cold breeze across your neck? Your feet sloshing through ankle deep puddles? It's a sensory feast that's not entirely as unpleasant as it sounds. Just like our muscles aren't very strong if they're only worked in a narrow range of motion, our brains and our mental resilience don't get worked very hard in today's easy existence. Perhaps it is worth building up a great range of tolerance to stimuli outside the range of normal.
So on a day like today, it might go something like
"I hear birds in the trees"
"I smell wet leaves and fir needles"
"I see the three golden leaves left on a bare tree"
"I feel a light breeze coming from the east"
When I get to the end of my sensory inventory, I start over again at the top, marveling at how things change as I go along. Sometimes we barely even notice our surroundings, especially when we're too busy wallowing in misery at the fact that the weather had the gall to rain on our Sunday long run. When we turn our attention outward instead of inward, what might at first seem simply miserable can turn into an opportunity to actually fully experience the world around us.
The next time you're tempted to just go to the gym when the weather outside is frightful, stretch yourself a little and see what it feels like to suffer the elements. After all, we can always come home to that delightful fire (or hot shower, or warm cup of tea), a luxury that most humans throughout time have not had.