Embracing Brief and Breathless Summer

It seems that suddenly, a busy summer has descended upon us. It’s a season we long for when winter is wearing white (and wearing on our nerves), and the heat of summer days are hoped for in the blustery and mercurial spring season. So alas- summer is here!

            Despite being full of potential activities, from parades and outdoor concerts, to enjoying beaches and parks, have you ever stopped to do…nothing at all?

            In doing nothing, we can tune our senses to what exists around us in the moment. Sit on your deck, patio or in the yard and revel in the joyous colors of garden flowers and plants. Relax on a beach with your eyes closed and hear…seagulls, the laughter of children, waves breaking on the shore. Feel the breeze and savor the warmth of sun on your skin. In tuning some senses out, others come to the forefront.

            When was the last time you sat outside and simply looked around at the sights? Be transported, even for a few moments, by the sight of the breeze ruffling a tree’s leaves or the calls of circling birds.

            Doing nothing isn’t actually a counterproductive idea, it’s a life-affirming one. A deep breath can lead to a release of stress and the endless thoughts of what we “need” to do. I recently joined a friend for a session of sunrise yoga on the beach. It was a beautiful morning with not even a chill in the air due to these hot summer days. Arriving at the beach, we first enjoyed our coffee and the moment was ripe to take in the silvery calm of the bay and gaze at the slowly coloring sky. Looking up, not a cloud was in sight, just a fresh morning blue. A family of Canada geese strolled by, with several downy-feathered babies flapping their little wings. The sweet sight of nature’s young flexing their wings brought forth amused smiles.

            Though not a regular practitioner of yoga, the prolonged stretching, holding of poses and deep breaths lend themselves to the practice of being in the moment. Calming the mind and mood can start the day off in a positive direction, centered and ready to face the activities and challenges a day can bring. My sunrise yoga experience had me focusing on: the feeling of muscles stretching; the giggles of the brave girls who took a morning dip in the water, and the coolness of the sand as I buried my feet in it. These experiences were brief in duration, yet enduring – a grounding simplicity that puts the focus on your physical body and the environment surrounding you.

            Let it fall away ­– any worrying, any re-plays of recent events or mental shuffling through the to-dos of the day ahead– even for a brief moment. It’s those moments that can then propel us to get through our work and errands, until the next time we can sit on the beach, feel the warm summer breeze on our skin and do…nothing.

            Nothing that is, but be in the moment.