I write this as snow is blanketing everything. I am cozy not just in the physical sense of being indoors and warm and in front of a fire after a cold walk. I am cozy in the sense of well being, feeling relaxed and present and close to life, not separate.
I’ve been reading that in Denmark there is a concept called “hygge” (pronounced HYU-gah or HOO-gah). Although hard to translate, some words offered up “coziness,” “togetherness,” “well-being,” but emphasizing that it is not a physical thing (or not just) but an attitude. It’s like the atmosphere that is created at Christmastime, around candles, food, family–an atmosphere of intimacy, a special dedication to savoring shared connection. Only this attitude isn’t just reserved for Christmastime (I really like it as one word).
The Danes contrast this way of being with the typical American way always rushing, eating on the go, being overwhelmed all the time. We Americans have reason to be more stressed, lacking Denmark’s social safety net, but still. There is an undeniable ethos in the culture that the end justifies the meanest means. What gets sacrificed in fight for survival? Just a great big chunk of our real lives, minus some of better moments, like at Christmastime. Our capacity to have an intimate, cozy, REAL relationship with the life inside and outside usually gets pushed aside, weak things, unlikely to survive. There is no time to be ourselves.
“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing,” said Groucho Marx. “If you can fake that you’ve got it made.” And here is another great American mantra from Jay MacInerney: “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you look playing the game.”
This New Year I vow to spend more time being cozy, to create coziness–to “hygge,” to HOO-gah (it is used as a verb) in the Kali Yuga. Coziness is radical now, just as patience is radical, softness over brightness is radical. It occurs to me that even meditation is an act of radical coziness with ourselves and with the world.
May all beings be safe. May all beings be cozy. May all being hoo-gah in the Kali Yuga.