Feeling that I needed to do some writing and not sure what to write about, I asked a co-worker to tell me the first word that comes to mind when she thinks of the letter “I”. The word she shared was “Igloo”. It was not a word I would have thought of, but it was an excellent suggestion because I immediately began pondering over the word.
When I heard the word Igloo, obviously the first thought that came to mind was the image of the cold dome shaped structure created from snow and ice inhabited by Eskimos. Other than knowing it was a dome shaped structure built of snow and ice and used by Eskimos, I had no idea what an igloo really is, how it is built, used, or the benefits of it so I decided to do some research.
I learned that the term igloo comes from the Inuit Indian language and means house. I also learned that igloos are not all made from snow and ice, but could essentially be made out of any material. In addition, I learned that igloos made from snow and ice are designed to act as a sort of natural insulator. While the snow and ice that the igloo is made of may be extremely cold, and the temperature outside of the igloo may be freezing, the inside can be many degrees warmer. There could be as much as a 50° degree difference or more between the temperature on the outside compared to the temperature on the inside.
What makes it warmer on the inside? The main thing is body heat. It’s the people occupying the igloo. They act as a human heating machine increasing the internal temperature. What’s even more interesting is that overtime as their body heat increases the temperature, the snow on the inside begins to melt. Then, the occupants step out for a while, the temperature on the inside drops, and the melting snow begins to freeze resulting in a stronger and warmer structure.
As my knowledge and understanding of igloos increased, my thoughts began to shift. The life we live is like an igloo. Throughout our life, we will experience cold and difficult times. When we are faced with difficult times and problems, we will seek to build a strong shelter to protect us. Unfortunately, often times the shelter we build is not the right one. The shelter we build is constructed of excuses, blaming of others, associating with the wrong people and/or obsessing over material objects.
Why? Because we do not want to admit that many times the true problem is us. We do not want to accept that our own choices are what created the experiences we are going through. To truly overcome the trials in our life we have to focus on what’s inside us. We have to strengthen our heart and mind. We have to focus on what is right, understand and accept the good over the bad, and make right choices.
By the way, as I continued thinking about the word igloo, memories of me as a young teenager experiencing my first real snow covered winter came to mind. We had recently moved from Florida to Idaho, heavy cold and snow was new to me. That winter I attempted to build my own igloo like structure. It took some time and a lot of hard work, but was worth it.
I know, because of my own challenges in life, that if we are willing to accept responsibility for our choices and put forth the effort to improve, we can build an igloo full of warmth, strength, love and happiness.
Unfortunately, I could not find a picture of the completed project, but I remember it being a small cave I could sit in.
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