I am taking stock as we approach the end of January and the days get longer. The weather outside across our great country ranges from dreadful… with relentless snow… and icy roads, to little snow and brown hills across the lake from where I am surveying the landscape today. I am still housebound but the knee is improving a little each day. Thank you to the many nurse friends who sent suggestions on how to reduce the pain and speed up healing.
Grey and chilly days inspire me to immerse myself in activities around the house. It is strange how listing our house affects me. Admittedly, I tend to obsess a bit about keeping surfaces clean and tidy, preferably dust free and overall smelling fresh. But, I can only take it for so long… Then the urge to cook or bake something delicious (or try a new recipe) overtakes and within minutes the kitchen becomes my creative space.
Enter the concept of “hygge”, a word we have seen a lot in the media over the past year. Along with “death cleaning,” “wellness,” “mindfulness” and “Zen,” “hygge” has slowly infiltrated our vocabulary. Just in case you don’t know what it means? Here is a link that provides a reliable definition for the Danish word “hygge”
On the website Hygge-House I found this simple sentence that sums up hygge very well: “Hygge literally only requires a conscious appreciation, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present – but recognize and enjoy the present.”
Anyone who has explored and pursued contemplative practices (Miksang photography, haiku poetry, journaling, meditation, Kantha embroidery/quilting, knitting, pottery…Ikebana and yoga or tai chi) can relate to the definition above. You may not have been consciously aware of what “hygge” is (or means) but you probably have experienced it.
Winter has always been a “hygge” time for me although I was not fully aware of it until recently. Presently I am striving to incorporate mindfulness, or “hygge,” by pursuing daily contemplative practices. Many of you have been following my Miksang explorations on my “Miksang & Haiku” site.
In the studio, I make myself use what I have. In the house, I am reducing clutter and embracing simple lines and fewer distractions, and in the kitchen, I am returning to preparing meals from scratch with basic ingredients and exotic spices. My new favourite appliance (an electric pressure cooker) is helping with that endeavour.
Slowing down, embracing quiet moments, pursuing quiet activities is the natural thing to do during these darker months. It is a healing time, a time to replenish our energy, go within and contemplate.
Since I am on the topic of “hygge” I would like to close out today with sharing the title of a book I recently downloaded from BookBub (a site for free and reduced eBooks). I finished reading the book just last night and today I feel it is worthwhile recommending. The author is William Jack Stevenson, the title of the book “Where the Green Star Falls.” Here is a link if you are interested (this is an unsolicited recommendation! I receive no kickbacks from Amazon or the author!).
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday! Stay warm and cozy. 😉