4 Ways to Mindfully Embrace Summertime
“There was nothing like a Saturday – unless it was the Saturday leading up to the last week of school and into summer vacation. That of course was all the Saturdays of your life rolled into one big shiny ball.”– Nora Roberts, Rising Tides
I don’t know about you, but the minute it begins to warm up and I can enjoy a refreshing drink on the patio, I experience a rejuvenating energy- like I can do anything. I’m experiencing this right now as I write this, enjoying a lovely summer afternoon in Albuquerque on the patio of my favorite coffee shop. Albuquerque is one of those wonderful places where you get to experience four distinct seasons and both the external and internal changes that come with each. Over the years, I’ve found, and learned from my dad (and our CEO, as you probably know), that each season has a different vibe and can benefit my being in different ways when I embrace these natural changes and learn to ride them like waves.
“Everything under the sun has a season according to ancient wisdom, a time to live, a time to die, a time to sow, a time to reap, a time to laugh, a time to cry. Sometimes an entire season can be captured in a moment, like the springtime of a first kiss. Sometimes seasons last in our hearts a long time, a really long time. My first cousin committed suicide as a young man. The winter that exists in my family’s heart feels permanent. “-Rick Breden, CEO
Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes the unique energy of summer. According to this ancient wisdom, summer is a season that is all about powerful energy and abundance. Fire is the element associated with this season and it has the power to illuminate our inner and external being, and is associated with joy. Everything joins the orchestra in summer: The grass, the weeds, the flowers, the bugs, and the newborns of all shapes, sizes and varieties, join together and create one big happy party.
“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.”– James Dent, Humorist and Political Cartoonist
To most, summer is a more relaxed time- no more shuttling your kids from school to volleyball practice, more sleeping in and a lot of refreshing cocktails. While so much fun occurs in summer- grilling, swimming, and weekend parties- we can also use this invigorating energy to support us in recharging and cultivating new mindfulness practices that we can grow and go back to during the darkest of winter days.
Although we might miss a day, a week, a month, or more, we can always come back to our practices, and our practices will yield results. Even if we practice a little bit consistently, we can expect positive change. And positive change often reinforces the practices that yielded the positive result, and you can begin to remember the invigorating energy of summer through them.
Here are a few ideas for you to mindfully embrace summertime this year:
Spend Quality time with Loved Ones & Dear Friends
“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”John Keats, Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawn
I know this may seem obvious, but sometimes our dear friends and loved ones can get lost in the shuffle of the year, and you may not even realize that you feel more stressed because of a lack of community. Taking advantage of long summer days to reconnect with the people that matter the most to you will give you new energy and remind you of the many blessings you have from your relationships. As the quote states, spending three summer days with someone you love is filled with more delight than fifty years, and you can remember and return to these days even during your busiest seasons.
Engage your Senses
Summertime brings so many opportunities to get outside and engage your senses, which is one of my favorite parts about it. You can:
- Wake up early and experience the cool morning breeze
- Feel the warmth of the sun on your back during the day.
- Walk in the grass barefoot and feel the cooling sensation on your feet.
- Dip your feet in a stream or the ocean and experience the refreshing cold on your feet.
- Listen to the birds or the sound of kids playing at the park.
- Savor fresh fruits and vegetables of the season.
- Definitely eat some ice cream outside, because there’s nothing better than that on a hot day and I often return to fond memories of enjoying Twistee Treat with my family (friends in Orlando, you know of it’s wonderfulness.)
During this season, make yourself available to all of these wonderful sensations, colors, sounds, tastes and fragrances and observe and remember the effect they have on your body and your perspective. Our brain remembers these associations and you can return to them when you’re feeling low energy and experience a little burst of energy when you most need it.
I’m definitely guilty of getting too excited when summer rolls around and I want to do everything all the time, all at once, with everyone. Although summer is filled with an abundance of fun activities and opportunities, it’s important to be aware of how much you’re exerting yourself and remember to incorporate pauses into your pedal to the metal schedule. Instead of always exerting yourself outwardly, you can learn to use this same exciting energy and focus it inwardly- rebuilding energy in your breath and mind-body connection through a daily meditation practice or some kind of light exercise like yoga or tai chi, or simply by recharging and relaxing in a hammock for an evening.
Step out of your comfort zone
With the energy of summer supporting you, you can build new courage to step out of your comfort zone and try something new or tackle something in your life you want to change. Incorporate practices that can help you reach your goal and take advantage of your support network to help you make positive, sustainable changes that can carry into the rest of the seasons.
Summer is such a wonderful time. Embrace it and let it fuel you throughout the year!