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Summertime

When you live in a northern climate, summer is short. I suppose that has prompted me to organize my life loosely,  by seasons. What that means during July and August, is spending more time out doors. Taking advantage of warm and sunny days while I can. I don’t always practice what I preach, however, so that is why I am writing about this.

Mind you, as I sit at my desk typing words, my window is open and a beautiful summer breeze is tenderly brushing my face and hair. An enormous maple provides shade to this room and the branches of green leaves reach up way past the top of this three story house. I am almost outside while being inside. And that is the slippery slope.

Walking, cycling, moodling, picture taking, can often be reserved for leftover moments and my purpose is to give them prominence on my calendar. My tendency is to get glued to my computer and I want to resist my tendency. Overcoming resistance is easier said than done. However, it’s a skill worth cultivating, since it can interfere in all manner of creative projects, carefree afternoons, and long bike rides with a picnic lunch in our cycling box. Furthurmore, it can wreak havoc with anything important you want to do if you are the type of person who weights everything equally.

The secret to following through on important things like moodling, practicing your guitar, writing a book or painting a picture, is giving them more weight.  Consequently, this will require you to say no to the dozens of competing purposes crying out for your time. Let’s face it. Life is filled with interruptions and some of them are way more important than others. If we continue to let everything interfere with our important but not urgent purposes, we will find days slip away before our very eyes and we come to the end of another year and wonder where all the time went. And we notice, yet again that we haven’t started or continued with the things that matter the most.

It is hard to picture that my time will run out. I intellectually know it to be true, yet, it is hard to picture that it will REALLY happen to me.  Knowing that, can change everything. It may seem contradictory, but it doesn’t make us run on the treadmill. Rather, it reminds us to step off the treadmill and use our time for the things that matter most.

“We have two lives; the second begins, when you realize you only have one.”

A beautiful poem by Mario de Andrade (San Paolo 1893-1945) Poet

None of us know how many more summers we have. So, let’s relish this summer in the best way we can. Don’t turn it into a project, rather take the matter of summer seriously and gently. Maybe have a morning where you take yourself outside and contemplate the clouds, or notice the birds and flowers. Be open for surprise and drift a little. Deliberate drifting outside on a warm summer day isn’t procrastination. It’s living.

Don’t you think our work and obligations in life take care of themselves because we show up. We don’t need to remind ourselves to go to work. We, of course need our work, and it can provide a great deal of meaning to our lives.  And we also need play. Playing games on our devices may prove distracting but it is rarely rejuvenating the way a walk, picnic, or making something might.  We all know what lifts our spirits and makes everything seem better, after the fact, even if we don’t get it ahead of time. (exercise is one example) It is worth the effort of overcoming inertia and even  pain, to get outside, breathe, smile, and count our blessings. Celebrate, create, have fun.

“Neil Fiore, Ph.D., a psychologist in Berkeley, California, explains, “Research shows that to be productive and creative, you must make time for recreation and relaxation.”

A suggestion from Valerie Burton: Sometimes all it takes to keep your sanity is to drop just one thing,”  Ask yourself: “What item here least reflects what matters most to me?”

Notes

Note 1: ) If you want to read the entire poem look here.

Note 2:) this small photo is the catalyst of last week’s post.  Winnie the bear and Harry Colebourn

Note 3: May you have many dreamy, creative, fun-filled moments this summer, in the company of people you love and like.

Note 3: Here you are again. I am very lucky and grateful that you keep showing up. A deep bow of thanks to you all, dear readers.

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