Bad weather workout: Strength through discomfort

So this is the kind of weather they call a wintry mix.
Right around the freezing point, we got some snow, some freezing rain, some ice pellets, some sleet, every possible type of precipitation coming down right now, with some strong winds.
They’re starting to taper off now.
But yeah, this is what the day looks like.
So this morning, I was looking outside and I was thinking about ways to somehow avoid going on my regular exercise route running in High Park, because clearly there’s a voice that tells me that this is not weather to go deliberately outside in.
Everything that I know told me that it would be very reasonable to alter my plans and not go outside in this weather.
And in my imagination, it really seemed like this is some kind of hellscape of horrible weather, because this is what I’m used to hearing.
You know, weather like this is considered some of the worst weather that we can get here in this part of the world.
So, thanks to some kind of notion that I should do it anyway, the notion that it’s OK to be uncomfortable, and in fact, being uncomfortable can actually be useful, I went outside anyway.
And as soon as I went outside, immediately it felt mild.
It’s, wow, you know, around the zero degree mark: that’s really not that cold.
And there was a little bit of the the ice pellets, a little bit of stinging of the face, but really, I was wearing a sweater, rain shell, and I was perfectly OK.
So it’s amazing how quickly this change can happen, from seeing this as being this is some kind of a horror show that’s going to be pure suffering to- like when you don’t do it, it seems like this big thing that is going to be terrible.
But as soon as you actually make yourself do it, you see that there’s really not that much to it.
It’s not so terrible.
And I don’t want this to sound as if I’m somehow bragging about my ability to withstand such weather, because really, this is not really all that terrible.
You think about people that are out in the wilderness, you know, out on the open ocean, having real rough weather.
This is just a wintry mix in the southern part of Canada, which is really not so bad.
But it was in my mind because I had always thought of this type of weather as being you just look at it and you say, wow, this is terrible.
I do not want to go outside if I can help it.
This is bad weather.
But then it makes me think of that saying: there is no bad weather, only bad clothes.
If you’re wearing a sweater and a rain shell, then this is not so bad.
So, when we protect ourselves from things that are uncomfortable, they start to seem bigger and bigger, more menacing.
This is what it’s like to be in the comfort zone.
Hiding away in the comfort zone, everything in the big bad world becomes more menacing.
It looks more difficult, more threatening.
But if we’re able to break out of that comfortable shell and actually go out and face some of these things that we thought were uncomfortable, we can see that, actually, they are less threatening than we thought.
And by doing that, we then become stronger, because we’re now able to take on more uncomfortable things with greater ease.
And it connects to that great human drive to have everything be easy.
We want things to be easy, so we hide away in the comfort zone.
But if we break out of the comfort zone and the things that we think are uncomfortable out there, they’re really not so bad, now the whole world has become slightly more easy.
And that’s what it’s like to become stronger: everything becomes slightly easier.
And so it seems like all it takes is a little bit- this willingness to be uncomfortable makes it possible for us to be, overall, more comfortable.
So my challenge now for this winter is to see how bad the weather can be and see how much I can take, in terms of what I used to think was terrible weather, and now I think it’s just another winter day up here.

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