Some thoughts about warmth, from our recent mother’s circle. I thought you might like them, too.

This month we talked about *warmth*. The days are getting chilly and it’s time to be bundling ourselves and our children up – Mamas of children under 7, this is especially for you. Your small ones do not know when they’re cold, and they need as many layers as you, plus one. Sarah and I are both big advocates for wool – if you have any wooly questions, I’m sure we would be happy to answer them. Fleece is soft and nice, but it does not breathe, and it is very cold when wet (like in snow), unlike wool.

Mostly, though, we talked about warmth in our presence and in our hearts. This begins with ourselves – have you noticed that the tone and the words you use when speaking to yourself are often very harsh and cold? Judgmental? Lists of things you should have done, have to do immediately, mistakes you’ve made, etc . . . Try to turn some attention to this inner voice this month. At first, just try to notice it. And then if you can, try and introduce some warmth. Imagine if you were speaking this way to a friend, or if they were speaking this way to you. Try being friendly with yourself. It’s very hard to be warm with our families if we are so cold and efficient with ourselves. Along those lines, if you have very small children, you have probably noticed that they take a tremendous amount of energy and warmth from you, lol. In the Waldorf schools, the teachers who work with young children wear aprons every day over their clothes – long, full coverage aprons that come up over their hearts. Not to be quaint, but because it offers a layer of protection, protecting some of your energy from the children so that you can work with them better. This might sound totally wacky, that’s okay. Just a thought for you to ponder. The teachers who do movement work often wear scarves, turtlenecks, etc also – again, layers, protecting the body’s warmth.

We talked about trying to take some pauses when we notice ourselves feeling cold, feeling cut off or overly critical. Try to pause, and even just gently remind yourself, warmth. I’ve been finding this a very helpful practice, personally. I’ve been reading a book called Homemaking & Personal Development by Veronika Van Duin, and listening to teachings from Pema Chodron on cd called The Fearless Heart (the latter you can get through the library), and both of them inspired this month’s meeting.

We talked about how our drive for perfectionism fuels this coldness and cut-off feeling. We want to be perfect so that other people will like us, but it’s interesting to notice that people who either appear to be perfect, or people who act as if they think they’re perfect, are not likable people. They make us feel bad about ourselves, or just plain drive us crazy. But people in our life who have human flaws, and have some ability to be honest about their flaws, or even a sense of humor about them, these are extremely likable people.

It’s important to remember that this is just a practice – a practice of trying to remember warmth, trying to pause, trying out a friendlier, warmer tone with ourselves and our loved ones. Too often we take a tool like this and use it as a weapon against ourselves. This is not easy, or quick, or something we only have to do once. It’s a long-term practice, but very gratifying, even just to do successfully once in a while.

Something else that came up in our meeting, which I hadn’t planned to talk about, but I was so grateful to have it come up, was the idea/illusion that other people’s marriages are easier. It’s so interesting how we culturally have no real models of what long-term relationships are like, and how to have healthy partnerships and marriages. It is a very prevalent illusion that other people work together more smoothly, more easily, argue less, etc . . . Once again, this is comparing what we see from glimpses of other people’s lives in public with what happens in our own private homes, and thinking that we are lacking, or our partnership is lacking. The truth is that deep, lasting relationships are hard work. And they continue to be hard work. I think this is a very juicy topic, and it would be very fun to go into it more another month, if folks are interested.

We did a short meditation exercise, and then we shared about an area in our life that needs some warmth. If you didn’t make it, you could do this yourself at home. Take 5 minutes to write about something in your life that needs some warmth – without judging. This is truly a gentle practice, a light touch, but I think you will be very pleased with the results. Just some warmth. We all have these amazing embers of love and kindness – every one of us – and we can blow on them gently to make them glow even brighter.

Blessings to all of you,


11 Responses to “Warmth”

  1. 1

    Thank you–this is a lovely post and very encouraging to me right now.

  2. 2

    [...] The weather here in the Deep South dropped to cold overnight (and then it was warm again, and then cold).  It is damp, and most of us are finding it hard to get warm.  I have pulled out all of our woolens, although the baby has been wearing his night and day for a few weeks now.  Warmth is so important that I write about it every year and have many back posts on it. I see other writers around the blogosphere are also writing about warmth – one of my favorites was this post from one of my readers:  http://www.localgrain.org/fieldsandfire/2012/10/16/warmth/.  [...]

  3. 3

    I love this post and agree heartily. We are in the desert Southwest where it is still near 80 during the day although getting colder at night (high 40s, low 50s). My youngest (age 2) has always been fine with me layering her up, until now. I feel her memory really kicked in during the last six months, which were hot, (we had our first triple-digit high in April) and she really thinks a sundress is all she wants to wear. When I put tights on her, she’s okay for awhile, but she won’t keep a jacket, fleece, or long-sleeved shirt on for even 5 minutes. She immediately begins tearing it off and screaming as though I have dressed her in a suit made of razors. Any ideas on how to make this more palatable for her? I’m getting to my wits end about this…I have lots of great clothes for her to wear that are warm and cute, but she won’t wear pants, won’t wear long sleeves, cardigans, jackets, fleeces, etc. She wants bare arms and legs as much as possible. If I try to put a wool/silk shirt on under something, it’s a huge wrestling match to get her dressed and then she just tries to tear her clothes off anyway. We tell her how wonderful she looks and how it will keep her warm and help her grow strong and healthy and help her be a big girl, etc., but apparently she doesn’t care about any of this. I would welcome any suggestions you have, especially if you had a child like this…

  4. 4

    How did I miss this warm hearted post? Such a treasure, Adrie, and a welcome reminder. And to Valerie above, I’d say…just keep going. By spring your daughter will not want to take off her hat and jacket, it will have become such a habit!

  5. 5

    I seemed to have missed this one too. Beautifully said Adrie!

  6. 6

    Thanks dear! And I’m sorry to say, the birds ate all the elderberries too quick this year! Do send me an email and tell me what your family is up to these days. Are both girls in school? How are you spending your days? How was the harvest swap?

  7. 7

    Thanks, dear one!

  8. 8

    Oh yes, I *have* a child like that, lol! Like Kyce said, just stick with it. Breathe deeply, get firm in your own heart that your little one needs to be warm to be healthy, and it will happen. Making it a game can work, like “let’s put your feathers on, little chicken”, or distraction with a story about what you might see outside, or how Jack Frost is painting the leaves . . . But overall, try not to talk too much, just do it. Hum or sing, and get warm yourself, too. If she refuses, just say, Ok, let’s go back under the warm covers then and go back to bed . . . she’ll be ready to go soon enough :)
    Good luck!!

  9. 9

    [...] good friend shared this article on warmth with me. the part that stayed with me was how aprons protect and warm your soul. i pulled my copy [...]

  10. 10
    Kimberlie Ott

    I just found you again after a long bout of computer issues. I adored this post, as I see such wondrous things to learn from it! I am my own worst critic, and your words were very comforting~ thank you so very much! :) Blessings to your sweet family, love the babe’s teeth. :)

  11. 11

    Thanks so much Kimberlie!

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