I’m a summer girl, born and bred. Give me a sunny day, a beach chair, a good book and a tall glass of ice tea and I’m in heaven. Nothing suits me more than languishing the days away like this. Even the tantalizing offer of a powerboat ride to view the shoreline, or an invitation to picnic on a sailboat can’t rouse me from my post. Nothing feels better to me than being planted in one place in the summertime.
That’s my summer rhythm - slow and sweet, long and lazy. Granted, I’m aware that this may not appeal to some folks. Many view summer as their time to party and play, or travel and traipse around the country. I appreciate the variety of ways that we connect with the unique opportunities summer provides. It seems to me that the key to savoring the season is finding your summer rhythm.
We all have an internal rhythm—a way that we think, move, or act that feels just right to us. Some folks are slow goers. Their gait is more smooth or fluid. Others jaunt along at a clip that offers cardiovascular benefits. Some folks like peace and quiet - the solitary life. Others thrive on activity - the hustle and bustle of life energizes them and they love being surrounded by people. Some folks don’t like noise. Others say, ‘Bring it on!’,the more stimulation the better.
Have you ever thought about your internal rhythm? Considered how fast you walk or talk? How much noise you like? How many people you prefer around you? If you have, the $1 million question is: Are you honoring your inner rhythm?
How do you know if you’re honoring it, you might ask? It’s simple really. If you feel anxious, rushed, short tempered, impatient or, in extreme cases, like you want to crawl out of our skin, or catch the next plane to Maui, you’re probably going against the grain—denying the natural rhythm your whole self desires—body, mind, heart and soul. If on any given day you feel centered, relaxed, focused, creative, grateful, or energetic, chances are you’re listening well to the inner voice that champions your inner rhythm.
I had a very powerful lesson in honoring my inner rhythm ten summers ago while on my honeymoon in Hawaii. I’d spent a delicious amount of time beach lounging and savoring the sights and thought I should introduce a bit of adventure to round out my week. (Note the “should.”) This inner urging took me by surprise as I am definitely not the adventurous type. If the truth be told, I’m pretty much a chicken about everything. No climbing heights, no deep dives, no dangerous sports would ever appear on my “Someday I’d like to...” list. However, for some mysterious reason, I felt an urge to explore, take a risk.
Against my better judgment, I threw caution to the wind and my husband and I went for a hike to a lava-laden, boulder strewn, ocean overlook with tide pools you could swim in. The view was beyond breathtaking, complete with large, wild sea turtles swimming in those blue-green ponds. The danger was that unexpected waves could appear any moment and wash everything and everyone out to sea. In my excitement to soak the scene in, I began scampering across the tops of the boulders like a mountain goat. Before I knew it, I was moving too fast and down I went, striking my head on an enormous lava rock. Within seconds, my life did flash before my eyes, just like they say it does, and I fought the fog of unconsciousness that came to claim me.
It was a miracle that I was able to hike back the mile or so it took to return to the car. It was also a miracle that, with as hard as my head hit, I had only a mild concussion. The greatest miracle though may have been the awarenesses I was given only seconds after my head hit: I was moving too fast - I didn’t listen to my intuition - I hadn’t followed my inner rhythm. Lesson noted and learned!
My hope in sharing my perspective here is that before your days of summer are spent you will intentionally take some time to get in touch with the rhythm that your true self desires. Fast and furious, or lazy and languid, and everything in between, of course. Once it’s clear to you what your whole self would enjoy, honor it, and spend your summer accordingly. If powerboating is your thing, go for it! But only if you want to—not because your partner or friends say it’s what you need. If sun bathing is what gratifies you, indulge yourself. (Just don’t forget the sunscreen!) But always, always listen to your intuition, the small voice inside that speaks up like mine did before my grand misadventure. Check in with it and listen to what it says.
When we honor our inner rhythm we move toward creating a greater sense of balance in our lives. Not to mention stress reduction and the benefit of enhanced health. When we choose to live fully in the moment, attending to what our inner rhythm calls us to do, we begin to live “in sync” with ourselves. We begin to feel better, more at ease, and our wellness quotient rises along with the temperature of those wonderful days of summer.
I'll be taking most of the summer "off" and "in," tending to myself and my creative self, so my blogging here will be minimal. I will still be meeting with people for Spiritual Direction/Mentoring, and there is one more summer program in Grand Rapids in July, "Nature as Teacher and Healer." I hope you will find and honor your summer rhythm too. Let's savor the summer shall we? It's the best way I know to stay Spiritually Healthy!
Blessings and all good things,
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Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty years. She is the author of several spiritual growth books, including Your Truest Self, My Deepest Me and Portable Peace., and is the co-founder and director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.