This Summer is going by in a whirlwind, as now it is August. I have lived in New England for five in a half years, and I have never seen people take to summer like New Englanders. They take every ounce of sun, every clear day, and run with it. There are sand castles to be built, smores to be consumed, and trails to be walked. In Hawaii, they called it, "Aloha Friday" when the surf was up, and many would call in to work to catch the waves. In New England, weekdays with clear skies and a gentle breeze are much the same: the Summer is too short to be wasted inside.
In a lot of respects, it is the idea of "presence" that we work on during the warm days. We are present when we smell the marshmellow cooking in the fire, we are present the first time it is warm enough to walk barefoot outside. Growing up in California and then living in Hawaii, it was hard for me to relate to the titillation of Summer. Yet as the years have past, I get it. There is something borderline spiritual about understanding that the cold days are coming, so get out NOW.
Why can't we strive to live like that all of the time?
When summer ends, I strive to continue the motions of living in the moment, and taking advantage of every clear day. By practicing it now, it'll be a habit by the time the first freeze sets in. I'll relish seeing my breath for the first time, and the smell of the first wood burning in the fireplace.
But now, I take delight in seeing the shorebirds delicately dipping their heads in the water as they hunt for small fish. Not far from where I am presently, I could go and hear the waves lapping up on the shore, coming in stronger as boats create wakes in the Long Island Sound. My four-year-old son asked me the other day what he was tasting in his mouth as we walked down to the water, and I had the delight of explaining to him it was the sea. He couldn't believe it, and it set off a barrage of questions that only seeing, hearing, and smelling, the ocean could produce.
Even when I am working, I am being mindful. These past couple of months I have been meeting clients at a local state park that butts into the sea. There is something about the dirt under our feet that gradually turns into rocks, the wildlife that crosses our path, and the water always in view that allows us both to open up to what the Universe has to offer. Last week I had an older client that was not interested in a reading, but begrudgingly was going along at the urging of her daughter. We walked and talked about life. I didn't push or prod and allowed her to steer the conversation where she was comfortable. We ended up at the bench, a beach at our feet. Oak and Maple trees surrounded us, and suddenly, she was open. "Did my daughter tell you that?" she asked me more than once as the Universe was able to work through me and start the healing process she needed so dearly. It was the sea that allowed her to free herself: I am sure of it. God works in wonderful ways, and nature is the perfect canvass for them to paint. I walked away from the reading feeling grateful to the abundance of God, as they always find a way.
Yesterday evening I was running with one of my dogs. It was still light out but warm, and my cattle dog and I were both feeling the affects of the heat and humidity. All of the sudden, two animals scurried across the road, their bulkiness hindering their speed. My dog's ears perked up and we both watched the beautiful animals as they turned back towards the road they had just crossed, almost in a satisfied manner that they had made it across.
I had to laugh. A group of turkeys is called a rafter: I learned that a couple of years ago as I stumbled upon a group of 15 in someone's yard on a run. Wild and all around the area I live, they are majestic animals that love terrorizing motorists as they cross the road. I remember fondly coming home after arriving at JFK on a transatlantic flight the accident I was almost in because of them: my family and I had hired a car service for our own safety, (if you've ever flown with two young kids you understand.) My eyes were closed and my body couldn't figure out where I was or what time it was. All of the sudden I felt the car swerve and break as we all jerked hard in our seats as the driver let out expletives. I opened my eyes to see a rafter of turkeys still in the road, clearly stunned from almost being hit, staring hard at our car and the driver. "Welcome back to Connecticut, kids!" was all I could muster out and laugh.
It is through nature that our connection to God and the Universe remains constant, and the abundant Summer days are the ideal time to reconnect or continue your spiritual journey. Studies have shown that putting our bare feet on the ground is actually good for our health, and other studies have found that salt air is healing. Make a date with the outside, and let the warm air and sunlight heal what is troubling you. Allow yourself to let go and be.
Be well my friends.