I began my summer with a week-long service trip to PIne Ridge Reservation in South Dakota where we built and installed outhouses. The organization, Re-Member, runs this program and their director said to our group, first thing: SLOW DOWN. Things on the reservation don't move quickly. SLOW DOWN. Do more listening and less talking. SLOW DOWN. Engage in more thoughtfulness and less judgment. SLOW DOWN. I'm trying right now to bring more of that into my summer. Less frantic action, less scurrying--more doing not very much or doing it at a languid pace. Less thinking about the things that bug me. More enjoyment of the simple pleasures.
I have friends who have summer places, I know--a true privileged luxury. You know what? Many spend almost no time at them. They are busy with kids' sports, and thus tied to being in town for team schedules, or they are trying to make extra money doing extra work. What a waste. Thankfully, with a daughter who has no interest in athletics, I have never been held hostage by a coach's obligations. And, I've learned my lesson, that the bit of extra money one earns taking on extra jobs comes at a huge cost to my physical/mental self (and is too easily eaten up by extra taxes anyhow).
Things to consider:
- Is your summer schedule dictated by too many of other people's obligations? Teams, camps, parties, reunions, etc.? If it is, consider what you are getting from these commitments. If they aren't elevating your life, then it is time for a family meeting to discuss household quality of life.
- Are you continuing to work out super hard in the summer? If you are, then why not consider giving your body a bit of a rest by switching from running to walking, from heavy weights to yoga, from competitive sports to just throwing around a frisbee or ball, or playing badminton?
- Are you eating junky food? Too many funnel cakes, french fries, ribs, cupcakes and ice cream can have you running for your larger t-shirts and baggy shorts in a hurry. Try enjoying nature's unadultered bounty instead. Cherries, watermelon, corn on the cob (roasted and eaten PLAIN), salads. If you want something ice-cream like, opt for a creamy but healthy smoothie. (Frozen peaches, bananas, coconut milk and water are a great combo--add a slice of ginger for zing).
- Are you watching too much tv? Turn it off. Spend some time listening to music, reading a book or just sitting, observing, talking and enjoying life.
- Are you making time for sex? Opt for the cooler hours and take your time--again, if you aren't enjoying this in the summer, then when are you? Lock the door and tell the kids to make their own breakfast (surely they can manage to put a bowl of cereal together themselves).
- Check out local trails and events. Enjoy the bounty of the nature and culture in your area. With the internet you cannot plead ignorance.
I love the Mary Cassatt picture at the top of this post because she captures the simple beauty of being on the water, enjoying the nature of the element itself and the creatures that make their lives there. Pick up the rhythm of their unhurried days and enjoy the warmth and slowness of this season of warmth and ripening.