Soaking in Summer

Hammonasset Beach State Park June 2019

Hammonasset Beach State Park June 2019

Summer is here. This blog is a celebration of that. An invitation to pause and appreciate the gifts of summer. Originally, I had some other things I wanted to write about - but then the weather warmed, the sun came out, and all I want to do is relish that. Something in me wants both to rest and to play, to feel something of the carefree experience of being a kid on summer vacation.

I am reminded of a labyrinth walk I did a few years ago; I think it was on or near the summer solstice, but the exact date is not in my memory. The facilitator said that summer is a time of abundance in nature. When you walk outside, life is happening full force all around you. You can simply be out in nature and receive.

For many people, daily routines and work life might not change much with the seasons. For some, summer may be the busiest time of year. For me, this year, I am enjoying extra free time, at least for a few weeks. And I am committed to letting myself have this time without filling it with a to-do list.

This is an invitation to join me, in whatever way you can, in soaking up the feeling of summer - even if only for an afternoon or moments at a time.

Here Are Some Ways to Soak in Summer:

  • Feel the warmth of the sun on your bare skin

  • Notice the colors of leaves, flowers and plants or the vibrancy and beauty in the world around you

  • Go swimming. Float down a river. Sit on a beach. Feel the water on your skin, sand or rocks under your toes. Experience the buoyancy of your body being held by water

  • Sit outside and read a book (two of my favorites so far this summer have been The Sun is a Compass by Caroline Van Hemert and Long Quiet Highway: Waking up in America by Natalie Goldberg)

  • Ride a bike down an old dirt road

  • Observe children playing outside (join in, if appropriate)

If you like, you can even try a simple imagery experiment. This can be done in any setting, such as during a break at work or before falling asleep at night. Think of a time when you were young and felt carefree and playful or full of curiosity, wonder, and awe. It could be one single moment or a stretch of time. As you call forth that memory, can you get a felt sense of that experience? Meaning, do you have any subtle awareness of relaxation, opening, softening, warmth or peace within the core of your body? Or some other comforting feeling? What do you notice? Then, to whatever degree you are connected to this feeling, gently invite the sensation to stay and possibly deepen. Breathe and let this feeling take up more space in your awareness and in your body. Know that you can return to this memory, this feeling, whenever you want to.

As human beings, we need down time. We need time to rest and play. It invites our bodies back into balance. It fuels our creativity and, even, our productivity. I believe these experiences are essential for our well-being, our emotional, physical and spiritual health, regardless of the season.

There is a time to do the deep inner work. There is a time to seek support when you are struggling or stuck with some issue or relationship. There is also a time to simply be. When experiences of ease, rest and play come (or when you intentionally create them), let yourself have them. Notice them and pause in the moment, soaking them in. In that way, they become integrated within you and you can bring them with you wherever you go.

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Katherine Grigg, MPC, RSMT has a Master of Pastoral Counseling degree and is a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist. She sees clients in Lenox, Massachusetts and over phone/video chat. Her approach has roots in somatics, body psychotherapy, spirituality and mindful movement. She specializes in working with women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Contact her for more information.