WE’VE had some foggy mornings recently when everything seems hidden by a thick winter blanket. Looking out a window reveals familiar landmarks still recognizable despite a shroud of white-gray fog. How do you react to foggy mornings? Or do you really notice them?

We know they are temporary. The sun will burn through eventually, the fog will lift. Yet, somehow it’s easy to let a dreary morning seep into our veins … when we aren’t mindful.

I began this shiny new year in SunnyRoomStudio by considering how smallish changes can deliver significant impact, often in ways that surprise us with their staying power. And already we’ve considered a couple of things that fall under this lovely umbrella: taking frequent sky breaks and giving something away as often as possible. Small changes really are the magic of our lives.

Photo, Julie Kingery-Conner *

So today I wanted to suggest yet another smallish change that came to me when I woke up to the fog of a mid-February morning that included a dense-fog advisory from the weather channel. Instead of pining for spring flowers or a bright summer sky … let “what is” become a welcome point of surrender, in a deep kind of way.

“If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees.” ― from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Book of Hours

We waste so much energy “wishing it otherwise” … so much energy pining for a different reality. Something we are certain is “better than” whatever is right in front of us. But when something is deeply accepted, without reservation, a degree of emotional liberation is attainable. Some call it liberation from suffering … even from smallish things that simply drain our energy.

So the third smallish change for 2016–something we can easily build into our spiritual practice–is just this: stay mindful, peaceful even in the face of what seems “negative.” Try to allow “what is” to be enough, and to be okay. When we remember to do this we are less likely to cut ourselves off from the very life force that is inherent to each breath, each ray of sunlight, each moment in time.

And if it helps … consider what is still possible given the circumstances. If it’s the dead of winter, for instance, there are still great photographs of flowers, green grass, sunny skies. Seek them out. Enjoy them fully, not as “it’s just a picture,” but in terms of “this is beautiful.” The colors are vibrant and full of life; there is “completion” of something glorious right in front of me.

Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.
— Theodore Roethke

When you try this, let me know how it goes. I’ll be back Friday, February 26th with another smallish change that holds the promise of something more. And if you have ideas along these lines, please share them. Thanks so much for dropping by!

I’ve always loved taking pictures growing up in South Central Illinois, but the love of photography came to me after transplanting to Sioux Falls. I became inspired with the state, and claim it as my own now.” — Julie Kingery-Conner, Jewels Photography 

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