Summer’s here, people.
As of Memorial Day weekend, we launch into the summer season. Yet, according to another calendar – the solar one – we don’t arrive officially until the Solstice, on June 21.
That difference shows how much we love to get a jump on summer. We want to get there and revel in all it brings…a different rhythm, different landscapes, different food. A feeling of ease.
And, since the summer season is finite (aren’t they all?), and time-bound (by that other 3-day weekend in September), there’s a sense of expectation along with the anticipation. Once we’re in the summer vibe, we want to make it last, make some memories, and get all we can. Do it better than last year. Really. Slow. Down. Really enjoy.
Ironically, at the same time we are slowing down, we are also ramping up –our outdoor activities, our fun quotient, our expectations.
Expectations. They can be the enemy of delight.
They can take us out of the present and keep us tied to the future. And, to all sorts of mental machinations that support our expectations.
I am a planner – don’t get me wrong. I love to make stuff happen. But, if my head is full of “musts” or “shoulds” there’s little room for allowing it all to unfold. There’s little room for all of that relaxing I’m supposed to be doing.
How to counter those impulses?
One of my favorite summer mindfulness exercises is to lie down and feel the breeze on my skin…to listen to the world around me…to notice how my body feels in the sand/hammock/grass…to allow my eyes to take in the scenery, without editorializing.
Moments such as these have a timeless quality about them. When we pay attention to what’s happening right now, we are not consumed with replaying the past or planning the future. We feel part of the world around us.
In these moments, we may find ourselves delighted at what we hear, feel and see. We may put aside our “shoulds”…. having more fun! or being more relaxed!
We have moved beyond expectations into Being. Now, that’s a vacation. :-)