#1 Turn all potted plants in your home, office, or any hotel lobby away from the windows. Observe their chaotic, vital, mad scramble, stem by stem and leaf by leaf, to turn again towards the sun, in silence and at a snail’s pace over several days. Remind yourself that the same instinct is within you. Consider what riotous, equally essential undertakings are happening inside your body even now as you sit in lethargic, sub-zero solemnity.
#2 Make like the silver-haired, elderly woman at the gym, who sauntered into the workout area with its weight machines and steel contraptions and hard bodies, wearing nothing but a colorful bathing suit and a shower cap, her perfect, audaciously wrinkled limbs supplemented by a cane. At a comfortable pace, ease forward onto the linoleum floor, barefoot and determined. If an employee attempts to thwart your path with talk of rules and health code violations, make no apologies, make no explanations—turn and saunter right back out. Setting is secondary to attitude.
#3 Be the tugboat. Your affairs of the heart with friends and family stretch forward and back into time, gently ebbing and flowing. Occasionally, though, you need to be someone’s tug boat, because they’ve run out of steam, or find themselves moored in the elbow of a river’s bend. Drop a line, dial them up, send a postcard; be the quick push, shove, or tug they need to find the current again.
#4 Take a class in which heat plays a crucial role. I went for glassblowing. In the absence of the sun’s warmth, try standing before a 2,000-degree oven with the door open, making every artful effort to capture globs of white-hot liquid glass with the far end of an alarmingly short pole. With help from an authentic professional, whose optimistic sandals and lack of protective eye wear make you wonder whether to doubt her preparedness or doubt your own questionable motor skills, blow like a juiced-up puffer fish into the near end of the pole. Behold, the alchemy that springs forth from your very breath: you’ve turned liquid to solid, you’ve injected air and life force into a “cold” 900-degree vessel, you’ve stretched fiery molecules into a thing of (albeit amateur) beauty. So, what can’t you do?