DRE Column for March – Rev. Cynthia Westby

Cabin Fever

“You’re now free to move about the cabin!”  Words we live for when we’re trapped on an airplane in our 2X2 seats!  In February, confined to my house by the snowy weather, I was more than ready to hear these precious words of freedom.  My snowbound life gave me the same cabin fever I experience on an airplane.

Did you notice cabin fever too, during those weeks of snow, cold and closures?  Many of us spent a good chunk of time holed up at home.  Because our cars were surrounded by mountains of snow and the City of Seattle asked us to stay home, we could see it was safer to stay put.  And navigating on icy, snowy sidewalks made us all appropriately cautious.  We stayed home.

Everyone started to act a bit antsy and bitten by cabin fever.  So what did you do?  What did you notice?  How did the forced practice of going with the flow, not knowing, and being with yourself and your family at home, go?  What did you learn about yourself?  Were you patient?  Frustrated?  Happy?  Calm?  Bored?  Did you have a shovel?

In many neighborhoods people with children or an inner child built snow sculptures, snow forts, had snowball fights, made snow angels, or went sledding.  It was a time in my neighborhood for people to get out and have fun with their families and neighbors.  People went walking.  We also took pictures, gawking at the snow-laden branches, and icicles on trees, grasses and gutters.  Later, some of us went outside to cut up fallen trees and branches.

Barred from our cars and routines, many of us enjoyed sharing time playing games indoors with friends and family.  Many took the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature, relax, and catch up on reading, hobbies, projects, and house cleaning.  Normalcy was interrupted.  Even when our time was affected with bored or eager children (or ourselves) the newly open-ended time offered the possibility of something unexpected.  Our lives had a monkey wrench thrown in and how we responded was something I encourage us to be curious about.  No judgement, simply notice what you learned from your experience and ask can that information help guide you in the future?

I’ve been asking myself, “How did I spend those days?”  “What did I learn about myself, the world, my family, Westside, and my neighborhood?”  “What did those days give or suggest to my heart and soul that I want to remember?”  Because wouldn’t it be lovely to make some changes without being forced by storms – wherever they come from?

You’re always free to move about the cabin within – to know from the different vantages, as an observer of your life, your freedom to move and to make adjustments.

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