Think back to the long, cold days of January. What did you look forward to doing this summer? Shopping at farms stands, or even growing your own food? Hiking or boating? Reading an escapist novel and enjoying the sun? Or maybe you had more ambitious goals, such as losing weight, becoming more physically fit, or learning a new skill.
Have you done it yet? For too many years, I missed the most enjoyable parts of the season, running from car to air conditioned office building to car again, waking up one day to realize that summer was over. Whatever your summer dreams, now is the time to make them happen; there is still time to make it a rich and rewarding season.
If physical improvement is your aim, summer weather makes it easy to work out and enjoy yourself at the same time. If the heat permits, forget the gym and take the exercise outside. Try a new sport or game, and do it with friends if possible. Even reluctant exercisers can enjoy walking when the weather is nice. If mental or spiritual pursuits are more your thing, consider taking them outside, too. Try a class that meets outside instead of in a classroom. Many of our local parks and nature preserves offer outdoor classes in bird-watching, gardening, yoga, and more. Or create your own curriculum with audio books and podcasts to take on the road or trail.
Although many people think silence is necessary for meditation, the sounds of nature can be just as peaceful. Take your meditation practice to the beach or woods for a change and just listen. The summer is ideal for meditating because the days are longer and the nights are warm. The soft chirping of crickets or the calming sound of ocean waves can bring you peace and make you feel more connected with the world around you. Finally, instead of spending your summer hurrying from activity to activity, feel free to allow your body to get the rest and recharging it needs. A bit of balance will allow you to make the most of this abundant season. As for me, I’m headed off to take a nap on the porch.