Joni Mitchell, Winter & Meditative Climbing

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March 4, 1976.

I was in my junior year at the University of Wisconsin in Madison when Joni Mitchell came to town for an upcoming sold out concert at the massive Dane County Coliseum. It was also the day of an incredible ice storm. I remember tree branches and power lines crashing  down from the weight of the ice, and hearing that over 500,000 Wisconsin homes lost power, some for up to five days. A few months later Joni Mitchell’s magnificent new album, “Hejira” came out. The album cover showcases beautiful photography (14 photos condensed later into one polished image) captured during the ice storm. Yes, while most Wisconsinites were dealing with the challenges and frustrations of the “Ice Storm of the Century,” a visiting Joni Mitchell went outside with photographer Joel Bernstein, embraced the weather…and created art.

That’s winter for you. You can try and hide from it, or get out in it and appreciate its majesty.

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Flash ahead to February 2017. I’m in New Hampshire now, getting my house ready to rent out so I can get back to traveling the world, teaching and practicing yoga. There has been tremendous snowfall this month here, some really cold temps and then swings to icy conditions as well. When I’m not teaching yoga here in Lebanon and Hanover, I also use this down time to be a student in as many classes as I can. It’s rare that I haven’t learned something wonderful and new in every class I’ve ever taken. A local studio offered “30 days of yoga for $30.” How can you beat that!

I went out with friends the other night to see a band we all like. In between songs the lead singer complained about the weather and lamenting that he “…really hates February.”

Well, I don’t! Most every morning of this second month of 2017 I’ve been on either snowshoes or micro spikes, climbing up and into New Hampshire woods and mountainsides.

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And once in the woods, breathing in cold, clean air, savoring the silence, so grateful to practice walking meditation in such surroundings. With each step I try to be mindful of my thoughts, sensations and the astounding beauty I’m climbing through.

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Enjoy winter!

By the way, “Hejira” is an Arabic word meaning “flight or journey to a more desirable place.” Perfect then. Perfect now. Enjoy Joni Mitchell!

And no worries…if you don’t like winter just hold on a bit. Looks like Spring will be here before we know it.

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Hope all your journeys take you to that more desirable place!

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