“Live in the sunshine. Swim the sea. Drink the wild air.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Summer Solstice is here: The sun’s up early, and turns in late. Maybe you follow the sun and rise early and set late? Even though most of us are not farmers who rely on extra daylight to get our work done, there can be an inclination to stretch the work hours or to do more, especially if you are someone (like me) who gets a little buzz from crossing things off your to-do list.
June also marks the official start of summer with school vacation, so our subconscious minds are still in tune with kicking back, as we did in the summers of our youth. If we stay aware of our inner nature, It’s easier to lighten up and go with the flow of the season, to disconnect more from the Internet and tight schedules spent indoors, and reconnect more to the wide open space of the outdoors.
I try to remember those words “lighten up” whenever I think “I should” do one more thing. Stop the mind, stop the madness, stop the activity. This June, I’m working on doing less and trying to “just be” more, and maybe after this month, the whole summer is a possibility. I’ve been working more hours than normal this year and not having enough time to do the things that soothe my soul, like photography, writing, and just plain fun or free time. And I know I’m not alone. It’s the world we live in. The pressure to work or do more: Happiness and success too often measured by what was accomplished, goals met, or money made. But, while I love my work, when my soul is denied what normally feeds it, my work and activity don’t bring me the same level of satisfaction.
Last summer this message came to me in a surprising way. It was July, and I was still struggling with the June Twelve Mindful Months theme of lightening up and taking time for more fun. There is a lovely guest who comes each year to spend a week at Golden Door spa where I work. She exudes happiness and charm, and seems to always be either smiling or filling the air with her joyous laughter. On Wednesday we both were part of a group who participated in a labyrinth walk. As we entered the labyrinth, we (blindly from a bag) chose a stone with a word engraved on it, and then all walked and meditated on the relevance of the word we were given. After our ceremony, my friend approached me and held up her stone. The word etched on it was: “Laugh.” I showed her mine: “Laugh.” Of course we burst out giggling. And just this week she returned for a visit, and we instantly shared a laugh, as we remembered our twin stones. There are no such thing as coincidences.
Like a photographer chasing the light for a perfect shot, this month I am focusing on chasing the lighter side of life. Yesterday I laughed when my shopping cart bumped into the edge of an aisle and stopped me in my tracks, and then another woman laughed too, saying it happens to her all the time. I’m smiling at more strangers and they’re smiling back. I’ve planned a vacation get-away to a place I’ve never been, so I can experience the adventure of something different and new photo opportunities. And I’m trying to take time out each day to just be in nature, or to enjoy the warmth of sunbeams on my face, or to indulge in reading a good book from my “summer reading list.”
I hope you join me and make more time, too, to relax and feel experiences deeply in both your body and soul. The earth is laughing as it comes into full bloom this summer, after (in many places) an especially long, cold winter. Go with the grain of nature, awaken your soul, and connect with the rhythms of the earth and of what is truly important in your life.
Lighten up. Do less. Have fun. Laugh more.
For more tips on lightening up, read the June chapter of “Twelve Mindful Months: Cultivating a Balanced & Fit Body, Mind & Spirit” by Carol Tibbetts. Stay on the mindful path with me by signing up to get future blog posts delivered directly to your inbox.