Cultivating Calm in the Chaos of SummerMay 30, 2023
I’ve always loved summers. It’s been a signal for change and excitement as long as I can remember.
In the summer, we often embrace longer days, warmer weather, and a break from the usual routines. These same changes can also create a sense of chaos and make it challenging to maintain a sense of balance and calm in our lives.
Right now, I have one daughter whose a new high school grad and is heading off to college. At the same time, I’m touring colleges with my younger daughter. Most of my weeks feel like they’re occupied in ways that can throw me off balance if I’m not consciously centered. That’s exactly why I’ve been thinking about how we can maintain our calm center in the summer chaos.
Here are Four Things I’m Practicing this Summer:
- Embrace the Flexibility: one beautiful aspect of summer is the increased flexibility in our schedules. Let’s use this opportunity to carve out dedicated time for stillness, especially meditation. Whether it’s in the morning before everyone wakes up, during your lunch break, or in the evening, find a time that works best for you and commit to it.
- Explore Mindfulness in the Great Outdoors: take advantage of the generally gorgeous weather and connect with nature. We can find a peaceful spot in the backyard, a nearby park, or my favorite – the beach. Allow yourself to be fully present. We can simply notice what our senses are taking in: the sights, sounds, and sensations in our surroundings. Give yourself permission to simply be fully present – this is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to practice mindfulness.
- Create Mini-Mindful Moments: if your summer schedule feels packed, like mine, then try integrating quick moments of mindfulness into your daily activities. Whether you’re travelling, working odd hours, or enjoying something like gardening, simply take 2 minutes to tune into your senses. Pay full attention to sensations: smells, tastes, what you’re hearing. Tuning into our senses is a great opportunity to be fully present.
- Adjust Your Expectations: I often have to remind myself that meditation is not goal oriented. It is not something to achieve. Shakespeare said "expectation is the root of all heartache". This rings true for almost all of us. My meditation practice isn't about feeling any certain way. It is about cultivating awareness, self-compassion and finding calm moments in the swirl of life.
Summertime is a beautiful, vibrant space in our lives. Don’t forget to prioritize your mental and emotional wellbeing during this often-busy time. Incorporating meditation and mindfulness into our summer schedule can provide a much-needed anchor in the middle of the busyness and changes. Most of all, be gentle with yourself, embrace your journey and know that each moment spent in practicing mindful awareness is a step towards creating a calm and grounded center, regardless of the chaos that surrounds us.
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