Beauty at the beach in Jersey City

Jersey City Winter Beach
Winter scene at Jersey City’s waterfront facing downtown Manhattan.

During most winters, I live at the edge of resistance, fighting against the cold and doing my best to stay out of it but a walk to the Jersey City waterfront quickly nullifies any need to do battle. The sun glimmers off of the Hudson River and the crisp, cool air brings the New York city skyline into sharper focus. Breathing in the afternoon’s surrounding stillness, I let go and relax into what is.

In that space between the breaths, between the paragraphs, between the distracting, grumbling, “complaining about winter” thoughts, I find openness and acceptance. I’m free to move on and just be.

Why don’t we allow ourselves to just be? Why don’t we give ourselves permission to stay in the present moment and to open up to whatever exists in front of us? Perhaps we are inclined to get carried away with our memories or our to-do lists or resistance or rejection of something or someone because of the uncertainty that exists in that moment of “now.”

Meditation is one way that I’ve become more comfortable dropping in to that present moment. Using the breath as a guide, I’m able to see what’s going on. I’m able to appreciate the beauty of winter’s beach.

In her book, “How to Meditate,” Pema Chodron says, “There is incredible wisdom to this open, present space. We are opening to the wild display of surprising richness, the organic and unique display of the present moment. We aren’t trying, trying, trying. We aren’t controlling or attempting and efforting our way through it.”

So instead of trying to escape winter, trying to stay warm, trying to make summer happen now, I am in the practice of opening up to the wild richness of its current display. That it is here to stay as long as it wants to. That there is nothing I can do to change that.