When I lived in Kazakhstan, there were days when it got to be -40 degrees Fahrenheit for days at a time. I remember while walking to work, ice cycles would form on my eyelashes and by the time I got to work my eyes were barely able to open. But no one, including myself ever minded. It was just something that happened every winter. Everyone dressed warm, ate lots of fat of cream, butter, pork belly and other meats to keep the body insulated. People were content in the middle of a time when they could easily complain, be in pain and misery, or fall short of enjoying life. But all found the greatness in this time of year.
One of my favorite things was learning how to play hockey and ice-skating every day after work. We would get done at a more traditional time, 5 pm, eat supper and then head over to the rink for a few hours. We were not afraid of the cold; we embraced it and loved what it offered. It was the one of the best practices of Santosha. Now as we start winter in Queens, with our commutes to work going from the fringed cold to the packed train it is sometimes difficult to feel contentment. But we still can.
The other day, my normal walking commute of 20 mins. took me 30 minutes and I enjoyed it. I refrained from letting the to do list take over and watched the snow gently fall to the ground. The Counting the Breaths Meditation by Rolf Sovik allowed me to loosen my grip on the future and be in the moment. With the essence of contentment I was able to breath deeply even on the train and enjoy the ride as I breathed.
For your own practice to start the day off in a peaceful place: On the way to work, dress warm and take an extra 10 mins to walk . Allow yourself to see the frost, possibly the snow falling, or to feel the crispness on your cheeks. Practice Santosha on your way to work and once you get in the packed train, the belly will be warm from enjoying the moment, the nostril will be open from breathing deep and the train will seem like an extension of your Santosha walk. As you settle into the crowd, continue to diaphragmatic breath and be in the moment. Let go of the hostilities of your neighbor while embracing your own inner peace that is with you anywhere you go while deep breathing.
God Bless You