How was your holiday?
Has it relaxed and opened you up to new levels of wellbeing? Have you returned with fresh perspectives?
It’s a big transition, taking a holiday. And also returning from one. You may be finding some of this challenging.
I’ve been hearing two different responses:
Sometimes the packing, driving, unpacking and full-on family time of a holiday can be so demanding that you may feel like the orange-clad workman whom I overheard on the roadside. He stood there, arms folded, complaining to his mate . . . ‘And so I come back to work to get a holiday!’
Or, you may have had such a fabulous time that the transition back to work feels jarring, bumpy, and difficult. You drop the ball, you fumble to remember things, you rebel against answering a long list of emails. You just want to run back to that delicious sense of leisure.
How do you return from the openness of summer (outer or inner), back to your life, without contracting into flatness or ending up just plain grumpy or resigned?
First let’s enjoy more of the airy lift that summer brings. In my last two newsletters I wrote about how we can connect more fully with the earth/trees or with water. Now it’s time for air.
Watching the sky
Did you lie on your back on the sand or grass, and look up?
In summer it feels as if there’s a lot of sky, and you may have found yourself watching it, and feeling as if you were floating through space.
Did you become caught in the drift of clouds, the lazy hum of insects, the flight of birds or the wonder of moon and stars?
I did. The first week out on the coast was windy, and I watched clouds rising up out of the hills in full-blown formations. I became attentive, looking for changes that might indicate rain, or calm sunny days. I felt relaxed and big-spirited as I sky-watched.
My gait changed. I strode out over hills, wandered along bush paths or splashed lazily along the margins of sea and stream.
The invisible element
It is the cloud-bringing wind that makes the air visible, along with flying insects or birds.
A dandelion seed head floats on the breeze. A monarch butterfly flits past the flower heads. High above, a hawk rides the air currents.
And then the air carries sound across distance: the booming of the surf at night, the cry of a morepork from the tree tops, or the wailing of the wind.
The inner season
If you are one of my northern hemisphere readers, and summer is not your season right now, I hope you are enjoying a dip into our summer by proxy.
Of course the inner season of opening can occur at any time.
Maybe the inner summer of the heart arrives when you fall in love. Or it happens when you sing your soul out with a group of friends, or when you attend a comedy show that has you laughing so hard that your inner barriers crack and shiver into tiny pieces and you start ringing with joy like a bell that sounds out only good news.
Anything that gives you the inner summer experience may also present the challenge of the return.
You may be tempted to sidestep this challenge or ignore it.
But experiences of heart opening need to be integrated, not wasted.
And so here are some tips that might help.
Tips for the return
- Capture those fresh perspectives. There will be new insights and clarity gained from your summer opening. Capture them as soon as you can, through journal writing, drawing, or creating an altar with a candle and a few evocative symbols.
- Make a clear resolve. What do you want to take forward from this time? What would be two or three simple ‘tweaks’ you could make to your lifestyle that would harness more spaciousness? Write them down, starting with the words ‘I will.’
Note: keep your action steps light and manageable!
- Integrate. Build the new pattern into your life and review the difference in a months time. If it’s been beneficial, then recommit.
Right now, I’m sitting outside on my deck, writing to you by hand. From time to time, my eyes lift to the pohutukawa trees that hold pockets of sea in their arms, or to the cypress that lifts its long finger to the sky. The chirping of birds mingles with the laughter of children playing. A breeze shivers the leaves of the lemon trees.
For me, this summer has coincided with plenty of time off-screen. Coming back to town and the computer, I find the screen presents a challenge and makes me wonder how I can maintain the fresh perspectives that opened up while I was away in nature.
I’ve made a resolution: to exchange screen time for ‘green time’—being with nature— this year. I will consciously increase my time on the earth, with bare feet when possible, and I will continue to practise the rich and wonderful ways I’m learning to stay connected with the earth, the trees, the waters and the air.
I wish you well with bringing the gifts of summer into your life, and creating more breathing space and wellness.
‘The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.’
Would you like to learn more about the wellbeing of earth connection? Click here to find out about my new Sacred Earth course, which begins on February 9.
This post is an excerpt from the Seasons Newsletter. To receive the newsletter by email, you may sign up on the Home Page of this website and receive a free audio gift.