photo courtesy Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau

A Winter Warm Up

by Lee Edgren

Soon the cats will be eager for their morning can of food, not because they are particularly hungry, but because this is how we habitually begin the day. In their lives, in most of our lives, habit rules.
In his fascinating 2012 book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg notes: “Habits aren’t destiny….Habits can be ignored, changed, or replaced. But…when a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. It stops working so hard, or diverts focus to other tasks. So unless you deliberately fight a habit—unless you find new routines—the pattern will unfold automatically.”

I wrote my master’s thesis on behavior change. One of the surprising discoveries of that graduate education was that intellectual knowledge means very little in the realm of behavior change. Knowing that we “should” do something, or reading about “ten easy ways” to do it means very little to our reward-driven brains. But what if you are emotionally convinced that the change is a positive one? What if the process of change itself brings pleasure, fun, and connection, instead of the deprivation we usually think revising a habit will bring?

Flash forward fifteen years from that degree, to today, to the second annual Winter Wellness Weekend and its three wonderful events.
I’ll start with Warm Up From Within. WUFW (now affectionately called WooFoo by those working on it day-to-day) is an amazing gathering of teachers, healers, musicians, and lover’s of life, whose heart’s desire is to help you really, really, really love yourself, your fellow human beings, and the life you personally live.

There is an underlying hope that if you are wanting to change something about the way you are now living your life, you may find some support for that here. And if you are just about celebrating the way it is now, that’s perfect too! New and exciting this year—the FREE FRIDAY evening events at the Abe Martin Lodge, including music by Shelf Life, an upbeat band doing covers from the ’60s on, and a short documentary film on what really makes us happy, entitled “Happy”.

One of the amazing things about WooFoo, is that it costs only $45 for the entire weekend. Pick what you like, go to that, and then get out in the park and enjoy the Frosty Five or the Winter Hike. The Brown County Visitors and Convention Bureau gave me a grant that underwrites much of the expense, enabling most of the admission fees to be distributed equally, on a per hour basis, to the presenters. An added bonus is on-site massage. Four of the many excellent massage therapists in this area—two men and two women—will be available on Saturday and Sunday. This year, full massage sessions, ranging from chair massage to 90 minute massages are being offered. And the Abe Martin Lodge, as well as other Nashville hotels, offer special lodging packages.

The anchor for the Winter Wellness Weekend is the 12th Annual Winter Hike beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, January 19. The hike features two different trail hikes with local naturalists, a 2.75 mile Woodland Hike starting at the Recreation Building or a 3.5 mile Southern Loop Hike starting at the Nature Center. Each route will have park interpreters along the way as you take in the scenic overlooks and breathtaking views that Brown County State Park is known for. As an added bonus the Boy Scouts share a warm fire, hot chocolate, and s’mores. Yummy!

The Frosty Trails 5 Mile Run is a challenging 5.2 mile trail run (or walk if you like) followed at the shelter house for a warm fire, warm food, warm drinks, and best of all, warm friends sharing tails of the trails. In addition to the trail run all race entries include a long sleeve event shirt, and a bowl of chili or broccoli cheddar soup from Darn Good Soup, some bread, a cup of hot spiced cider or some hot chocolate, and, a Big Cookie from the Scholars Inn Bakehouse.
Each year, the New Year arrives with all the promise of a blank sheet of paper, the promise inherent in all new beginnings. And while I have given up the written list of “New Year’s Resolutions,” the rising energy of each new year still captivates me. I hope that it will bring greater light and energy to you as well.

To find out more about the Winter Hike, go to <www.BrownCountyWinterHike.com>. For information on the Frosty Trails Five Mile Run, contact Bill Bartley, Indiana Running Company, (812) 822-0327. For a downloadable brochure that fully describes WUFW as well as a link to event tickets,
go to <www.riverlightyoga.com>.
Tickets for WUFW can be purchased at <www.WUFW.eventbrite.com>.