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There’s cold, and then there’s COLD.

Cataclysmic COLD, my friend Marge Schiller proclaims.

I step out of a Westin Hotel in the Chicago suburbs, submerged in my red down jacket, heavy turtleneck, knit cap, gloves. Walk briskly toward the shopping mall on the other side of the street. Then I run. Really really run.

– 7 degrees Fahrenheit. I feel the COLD in my bones.

No exuberant hymns to COLD from me. I live in Florida for a reason.

But I have a few mental cold remedies. They taste good. Consider them your unexpected gifts of the cataclysm. Let them warm your heart.

COLD creates fresh common ground.

Hibernate at home if you must – but don’t do cold alone.

Don’t isolate in your mind or in your heart. Call. Text. Commiserate freely. Connect. COLD is a clarion call to reach out for human bonding. Offer the gift of empathy. Receive it in turn. And be surprised. Familiar relationships may suddenly deepen as you face external adversity together.

COLD is a supreme equalizer.

The Boss. The CEO. The Stranger on the subway. The Vendor on the street. It doesn’t matter. During the COLD, arbitrary social divides are rendered meaningless. We all face our lack of control over larger climatic forces together. The opportunity? Initiate conversations across the divides. Open new social doors. Fall out of separateness. Watch unexpected connections emerge right under your nose.

COLD yearns for WARM.

Think of it as the yin/yang dynamic. We neutralize cold by warming up. We do it by warming our bodies, our homes. Great. Consider what will warm your spirits. An inspirational reading. A heartwarming movie. A sumptuous meal. A laugh-out-loud comic book. You can yang on your own. But why not yang with others? Let the cold be a catalyst for your deep desire to be of help.

Marge is wintering in Florida, up the street from me. I don’t care what all these people down here say, Marge declares, IT’S NOT COLD!

Well, when the chill enters the bones, I know IT IS COLD. I can protect myself. I can choose to suffer. I can select a cold remedy.

More COLD are coming.

Remember the cold remedies. The mental ones taste pretty darn good.