It is snowing buckets outside and I have once again joined the hamsters in mock hibernation. And I have to say that I envy the little guys being as bundled up as they are in their cage. Were my body equipped with expandable cheek pouches, I might also scour the apartment for nesting material. I can see the surprised look on my husband's face now as he would slosh in the door from work to find me buried several layers deep in a fibrous castle three times my size. He would dig through the sheets only to find me munching on the pizza I had ferreted away somewhere near the tumor of pillows and stuffed animals.
I'm not exactly sure what it is about Wisconsin winters that allows me to speak so carefree about them during the off-season. Perhaps it's some type of temporary memory loss attributable to the warm summer sun that causes my head to swell and my mouth to spread into a grin in the face of snow fearing southerners. Well folks, that grin has hardened into the firm and determined stare of a human trying desperately to survive the colder and typically less colorful months (The gray background on the photo collage above? That was the sky today.).
Most of December was spent pacing the edges of the apartment, hunched over and rubbing my shoulders. I also may have depleted the water supply of the Eastern dolomite aquifer with the amount of "necessary" bubble baths I've taken over the past two weeks. In addition, I've had to make the choice between cold, and warming my feet in slippers that so desperately need to be replaced that the worn insides give my feet a nice pickled beet and wet dog scent. ...It's been smelly around the apartment lately. All of these strategies have been put into place because the fire element is literally a hot commodity around here. Mostly so for the electric company, who likes to find out just how much we love our internal body temperatures by doubling our December bill.
This, mixed with my stubborn conviction to get healthy, has driven me to the gym at least four days of the week. It gives me the chance to not only lose weight, but also to trudge back into the snow after a half hour workout and stick it to Hades for kidnapping Persephone and leaving us in this mess in the first place. With my warm core firmly established in my jacket, I can trod home in a storm and think, "My, what a pleasant evening it is."
So many times we think of elements in their purest forms. Sometimes people to whom I try explaining Wicca are under the impression that I bow down to a candle flame (Only if there's a power outage.). But elements are so much more malleable than that. Fire is an excellent element to work with when you're exercising because of the warmth we feel as our muscles work and our bodies burn fuel. It's the element of change that allows us to sculpt and train our bodies. Below is a fire visualization I've been using to help me find my flexible side. Here's wishing a warm winter to all of you.
Flexibility Fire Visualization
Get into the starting position for your stretch. Close your eyes and picture yourself floating in a pool of fire. It warms your body, loosens all your muscles, and draws you into a focused calm. Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose. As you do, feel your legs, spine and torso elongate. Feel the fire helping you along. As you breath slowly out through your nose, go a bit deeper into the stretch. Repeat this several times until you can't go any further without feeling uncomfortable. Take a deep breath in and come back to a sitting/standing position.