How has your Summertime been? Yes, it’s been a different year for us! You’ve probably taken on lots of home and outdoor projects, given the quarantines we’ve all been living through. Have you given yourself any vacation time this Summer? It might be a road trip or having a good friend or favorite family member come have a visit with you. You might have nothing planned and be simply carrying on as usual. Does that, “usual” include some down time, or play time? Perhaps a little splashing your feet in a pool while sitting quietly to dream and reflect about the positive things in your life. Hmm…that sounds nice!
Our busy culture hasn’t historically placed much value on sitting quietly or spending time by a reflecting pool and having pleasant daydreams. Perhaps it’s my advancing age, or maybe living in a large, busy city that provides lots of counteractions to being busy, but I find that my quiet time in the chair each morning is as requisite to my day as my meals. One of my favorite aspects of practicing Yoga years ago was the “counter stretch.” This would be done after a strengthening pose or asana. Hmm… what a lovely concept for balance, a pose that strengthens the body, followed by a pose that stretches the body. I’ve tried to incorporate this balance into other areas of my life and am inviting you to play with that concept for the rest of your Summer. Find an area in your life where you can bring balance. Maybe it’s as simple as going for a one-mile walk and drinking more water afterward to replenish. Replenish… sounds nice, doesn’t it? This conjures up images and feelings of rejuvenating, napping, sitting, smiling, enjoying….!
Summer can be a great jumping-off point to give yourself more time and space for body, mind, and soul connection. Connecting deeply within yourself and your source of wellbeing can bring you many gifts, such as the ability to quieten your mind when you start to get anxious or uncomfortable. Being able to focus on completing a task, an exercise class, or a project you’re working on can come from being able to step away from the protective impulse to quit whatever that activity is and do something else. This takes time and gentle training. You might approach practicing this new connection from a playful perspective. Lay in the shade of your favorite tree and listen to the birds, then do something that you’ve needed or wanted to do like organizing a closet. Observe if the “task” feels any different to you than in times past. Maybe it feels easier, or maybe you find you are more focused and efficient. Perhaps your mind doesn’t wander to another project or task and you finish in less time than you anticipated.
I encourage you to spend time and experiment with deepening your body, mind, and soul connection this Summer. We are living through a highly contracted period in our lives. Discover ways to gently expand and relax.
“When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy.”
The Dalai Lama
Gotta go, I’m off to the pool for some splash-time!