Like many in the Tetons, my life flows across this formidable mountain range between two communities on either side (with some amazing experiences in the mountains too). To get back and forth, one crosses a pass that rises and falls nearly 2000 feet over about 16 miles with grades of up to 10 degrees. Good snow tires and a strong engine are a must.
I’ve come to deeply appreciate this drive as a gift. It is the visceral, external manifestation of the breadth and complexity of feelings, emotions, ideas and perspectives within me. I learn more every day from this Pass. For example, a few days ago, I had dinner on one side and drove back over at about 9pm. Roads were clear. Traffic was non-existent. It was a simple, autopilot, 35 minutes of ease on a winter night. Twelve hours later, as I drove back, it was anything but that: 30-40 mile per hour winds; rain, snow, and low visibility brought my every sense to the forefront to carefully weave my way over.
Every time I drive it, the Pass shifts and changes. The weather on one side can be completely different than the other: one in clear blue skies; the other socked in with clouds; one warm; the other, frigid. Rain on the bottom; blizzard on the top (on average, every 1000 feet brings the temperature down 4 degrees).
The insight for me is to breathe in my appreciation for all of it and to learn from the changes every day. How do I keep myself centered as I experience and lead my way through all kinds of weather? How do I find grace and beauty around me in a world where all I can control is myself and how I show up? How can I continue to adapt to this every changing drive, continue to see and observe more widely, and not lose my grounding?
As we think about resolutions and goals for 2023, can there be a part that includes allowing nature to be our teacher? Can there be a commitment to beginning the day with breathing in our awareness and connection to the earth; our intention for how we want to show up, and for our gratitude for all kinds of weather before we start running through our day?
There is so much we can’t control (no matter how much we might desire it). But we can control how we choose to be — and that can make all the difference.
Here’s to an inspired, connected, loving 2023.
Thanks for being with me on this most “everything” journey of life,
PS Two movies I’ve watched recently that reinforce this idea of being centered in all kinds of weather are Two Popes and Retrograde. I highly recommend both. They are very different but equally powerful.