Giving up hope—relaxing into where we are

posted in: Photography | 1

Quote of the day:  “Without giving up hope—that there’s somewhere better to be, that there’s someone better to be—we will never relax with where we are or who we are.” ― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times


Here I am. It is the second to last day in February in Minnesota. Wind chills outside are 30 degrees BELOW zero. Icicles hang from the eaves of the house and the snow is so deep in our front yard that it buried our mailbox during the last big snowstorm. More snow and cold are predicted for tomorrow and next week.

“Winter cannot last forever,” my mind says. You know what they say about March, “In like a lion, out like a lamb.”

I catch myself—again—hoping for something different than what is.

I’ve entered the 5th month of a gut upset that just won’t end. There are no predictions on this except that this too will end somehow, sometime. Waiting, doing everything I know to heal, believing, hoping.

Between the weather and my latest gut episode, I’ve not left the house for almost a week. I make plans but my body and the weather trump them. I want to make plans to go on photography outings, set up portrait sittings, plan projects, but find that such plans usually have to be canceled or cause more pain than they are worth.

Earlier this week my thoughts were all aimed towards escaping. God, let me be anywhere but here. I’d like to walk out the door and not need to be covered head to toes in boots, down coat, scarf, hat, mittens. I want winter’s cold embrace to ease up, just a little. Let me bask in the sun somewhere, anywhere, but here.

And I crave eating just one big salad filled with mixed greens and raw veggies of all kinds, without paying a price in pain and discomfort for days afterward.

I live in these fantasies and hopes for awhile. Then I remember to give up hope, just let it go, and sink into the now.

Breathing in, breathing out.

Feeling my sadness and frustration and longing—not pushing it away or trying to fix it or escape from it.

Feeling compassion for everyone wishing for spring to arrive soon. Feeling compassion for myself. Feeling compassion for all who suffer.

Breathing in, breathing out.

Feeling knee deep in manure and remembering my dad say when we were kids that manure (my dad was a farmer) was money in the bank. My bank account overflows 🙂

I take a break from writing and close my eyes and focus on my breath. Feelings and longings fall away.

I experience stillness,

the “is-ness” of being,



I relax into gratitude for the many blessings in my life—family, friends, home, food, warmth, comfort—and give thanks for this moment, this day, this life, this weather, this body, just the way it is now.




  1. Naomi

    Wow, Marilyn. The light on those stalactites make then sparkle and glow. So lovely! What beauty surrounds you.
    Here in Texas, I am longing for what you have. Funny how the grass (snow?) is always greener…

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