by Eva Rygg, Norway
Today the outside temperature in Oslo, Norway, is showing minus 18 degrees Celsius.
Now some of you might say that’s incredibly cold, however living in Norway we are used to these temperatures in periods over the winter.
I would like to share some reflections I have had around the possibility that the climate, as well as culture, does affect us.
Because – how is it that we can end up so totally disconnected from ourselves, that along the way we stop feeling how much we harm ourselves? One thing is that it happens gradually over the years, but yet another answer to it is we watch and see that this is how most people around us cope with life.
So where did it all start, when did we learn to cope? Scandinavia is one of the coldest parts of the world. How was it to live in this rough and often extremely cold climate? The history is very clear: our ancestors had challenges that we cannot even imagine, particularly the women, who were often left to look after the family while the man went off for days, sometimes months and even years, to find labour and a way to provide. We highly admire these women for surviving and being able to even reproduce under such circumstances. Women of those times had to toughen up, they had to go hard and numb – it was often a question of life or death.
However, those days are long gone, today we write 2013, and we have had tools and knowledge as well as time to change our behaviour. Yet most women (and men) would say they are not aware there is another way, that the hardship and toughness is natural and that this is how we’ve always done it – it works!
At what price are these behaviours still continuing? Could it be that we have compromised our own natural tenderness, and the preciousness of being a Woman, because we have learned to see it as a weakness? That being strong and independent equals being hard? And so, to survive in our existence we need to shut down what we truly feel?
Myself, I know that I’ve certainly acted according to these hardening behaviours in so many areas of my life, and never did I question why. Or consider doing it another way. To give you an example: in earlier years I was very much in disregard and very neglectful about being cold / freezing. I would sometimes be so cold my fingers and / or toes went numb, and for those of you who might have experienced that, you know that when the blood starts to circulate again (when you get back in the heat), it is extremely painful. When I was a little girl I used to cry and cry when that happened, I was strongly affected by it and it brought about a sad feeling in my whole being… when I got older I learned to accept that this is how it is! Simply bite your teeth together and get on with it.
This was until I came across the life changing teachings of Universal Medicine. One of the very first things I was presented with was how important it is to self nurture and deeply care for myself. Quite soon it became very clear to me that I needed to look after myself in a completely different way – also (and especially), when it is cold. One example from the old way of doing it would be, I would go out in the morning and scrape ice as well as shovelling snow, not only from my car, but also the driveway. Sometimes that would take me a long time (we have huge amounts pouring down at times), and by the time I was done I would be ice cold and wet. Still, I would always get straight in the car and go to work. At this point I could barely hold the steering wheel due to frozen fingers, and on top of it I would be in a state of strong anxiousness because I would be late for work. And I would now have pushed myself to a state where I would be seriously annoyed (angry) with myself and anyone who came close – look out fellow drivers! The rest of the day would continue on the same foot (as you lay your bed so you sleep), and I would easily find someone else to blame for my miserable day. Phew – exhausting!
Through the new understanding of myself, how I live and how I care for myself I have learned to take full responsibility for my own choices; I realised that my life can only be as good as the choices I make. Yes, I live in a cold climate, but does that mean I should be less precious with myself? No. Nowadays I plan my day differently (spaciously), and so if I need to deal with snow, I am shovelling in a very gentle tempo (in several goes if need be). I let the car run to get nicely de-iced, and then go inside to have a beautiful warm bath or shower – and never am I leaving home being cold. I will put on layers and layers of warm clothes, and make sure that to the best of my ability, I’ve looked after myself in a deeply caring and cherishing way. I also find that if I am able to not heavily react to the cold (“OMG it’s sooo cold…” etc.), it is less harsh and my body is able to stay in its own loveliness and not go into hardness. I’ve learned that the wisdom of my own body is limitless – if I choose to listen. The journey back to my own natural tenderness and true health is something I wouldn’t trade for anything – because the feeling of letting go of the self-made prison of constant hardness and anxiousness, as well as judgement of self and others, is priceless.
One of the greatest lessons for me has been that even when the circumstances may be a bit rough and harsh, it is still possible to stay yummy in myself and keep my natural playfulness – and that’s what will then support and feed me (not to forget those around me) back during my day.
Does climate affect us? Clearly it does – but at the end of the day, what we are truly being affected by is our own choices.