Chilly autumn stillness

Chilly autumn stillness

By Michele Savaunah Zirkle - Contributing columnist

Seat heaters are the bomb. I crank mine up in autumn when mornings are foggy and just seeing the dew on my car makes me shiver. Seat heaters are as important to me as are the tires on my car and both items run hot. I was “born with wheels for feet,” like grandma used to say. Movement is comforting — the jostle of a train ride, the flow of a yoga sun salutation, the landscape whizzing past the airplane window.

Movement keeps me warm and cultivates my growth. If I’m not moving, I feel like I’m dying. I relish the opportunity to avoid feeling stagnant even if I’m accomplishing something as simple as reaching the 1-mile marker on the path I’m jogging along the river trail.

Movement isn’t necessarily indicative of growth — neither material or spiritual. We can back-peddle till our arms hang heavy. We can skate the figure eight of the karmic loop until we are dizzy, but growth only happens when friction ignites the light within and sprouts a seed of change.

Every seed needs heat to grow — even the metaphorical ones. Motion creates heat and our minds are motion-creating machines. Thoughts, impressions, emotions and visions all stoke the internal furnace.

Scientifically speaking, molecules vibrate at a higher rate and expand when heat energy is added to them. Heat equals expansion in more than the physical sphere. Heat motion births our dreams exponentially. In other words, all my fresh, new adventures require movement — and movement begins with thought.

Our thoughts are fluid, moving and adapting to various stimuli. Our minds create intent and our bodies respond. Mental movement; therefore, such as writing or reading or chatting with a friend is as powerful as a jetting across country or bungee jumping from a bridge. Thinking and talking and writing about our wishes keep the coals of desire aflame. This heat allows us to mold our dreams into any shape we want.

So, am I ever still? Sure, there’s comfort in stillness too, but constant stillness would suffocate the spark of creativity burning inside. Breathing in the stillness of morning over a cinnamon-laced cup of coffee, soothes my spirit and rejuvenates my appreciation for a sweaty weight-lifting session or belly-dancing class.

When I’m warm, I’m happy. Sometimes that’s when I’m basking under a shade tree and reading a book. Sometimes that’s when I’m jaunting from one book signing to the next with a book I spent years writing. Regardless, I’m expanding into unknown territory and this amusement ride is worth the wait — a wait spent in stillness, of course.

I subscribe to the famous Pooh-ism that procrastinating one’s playtime induces unhealthy stress, so I blow into my little town of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, for my bi-annual writer’s retreat. Usually the landscape abounds with vibrant fall colors, but today, the crafts lining the tables at the Fort Days Festival are more vivid than any leaf by far. The chlorophyll that feeds the leaves hasn’t had a chance to deactivate due to the exceptionally wet, warm season.

So, I flit from the popcorn vendor to the fiddle player and top off the jaunt with a swig of lavender chardonnay in the wine-tasting tent. I close the evening with dinner with a few writing buddies and more laughter than money can buy. Life is good. Pooh would be proud of me.

After a morning of transcribing a new plot for the sequel to my recently released, “The Emerald Island Elixir,” I head into the surrounding woods of the Laurel Highlands. I’m jogging along one of the many trails when a gust of wind practically blows me into the creek to my right.

Again, Pooh comes to mind. The wind scared him almost as much as the heffalumps and woozels he feared would steal his honey, but when the wind swept his friend, Piglet, over a waterfall, Pooh forged ahead to rescue him, undeterred. The world’s most adorable, silly bear is wiser than his honey pot is full.

Pooh gets to where he is going by walking away from where he’s been. Allowing the blustery breeze to blow him where it will. As he points out in the latest box office hit, “Christopher Robin,” he also knows the tree will always grow exactly where it needs to be because we each plant the seed through our intention. Our wishes are the portal to happiness in other words, and divine desire always stirs within us. It’s part of the package of flesh and fortitude we come into this world wielding.

Play is fun, and work is fun. When play and work converge, life is more Pooh-like, more joyful, so as the dark clouds swirl overhead, I finish my run, tears streaming from the winds pounding my face and head into the lodge to write and work and play. Exhilarating. Challenging and exhilarating. Just like I like my life.

Three thousand words and five days later, I’m driving to my sisters to meet up with my mom. Tomorrow, many family members will gather for my oldest son’s first baby’s shower. In less than four months my first grand baby will take his first breath.

The winds of change are sculpting a new scenery for not only our family, but many families throughout the world. The culture is changing, for better or worse, the face of life is changing. All life benefits when we remember that with each breath we contribute to this change—with each breath we blow winds of love and acceptance or winds of decay and destruction.

I’m tucked inside, all snug on my sister’s couch, when a flower pot flies across the porch and the front door bangs against the house. Minutes later, a tree crashes in the distance, and the electric goes off throughout half of West Virginia.

The wind theme seems to have followed me, reminding me to do the Pooh as often as I can.

I encourage you too, to dip into your honey jar of passion and pamper yourself often. Enjoy each challenge and each victory—each spoonful of honey and each blast of wind that crosses your path.

Perch your honey jar on your head and balance it the best you can. Walk with purpose or meander—it matters not. Just do your best to keep it from breaking and spilling the sweet flavor of your life into a boring wilderness of work and no play. Above all, have a happy blustery day!
Chilly autumn stillness

By Michele Savaunah Zirkle

Contributing columnist

Michele Zirkle is a published author, life coach and energy healer. Her radio show can be accessed at She can be reached at

Michele Zirkle is a published author, life coach and energy healer. Her radio show can be accessed at She can be reached at