summer

10 ways to Cultivate more Joy in the Chaos of Summer

Summer is the season with the most light in the day. There is also a feeling of lightness everywhere. It is easier to be lighthearted and without the usual burden of day to day life. 

In an ideal summer we feel heart expanding love and overflowing joy. This is the season where it is easiest to tap into our hearts. Think of how you felt during summers as a kid; free, wild, warm. As adults Summer is the busiest season for weddings - the most public proclamation of love. From childhood into adulthood, Summer is how we connect our hearts with the world and the ones we love.

This season is a time to be social, attend parties, host parties. Basically, it is time to do all-the-things. While this faster pace is a natural match to the Summer season, we can easily become overloaded. When we get overloaded there is a long list of symptoms that can pop up. Most commonly things like, anxiety, insomnia, restless sleep. Or even feeling scattered and overwhelmed. 

With the long lists of fun things and opportunity for heart expanding joy, how do we do all-the-things without falling into the stress of chaos?

I'd like to give you an invitation to cultivate joy instead of chaos this summer. Here's how.

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1. SAY YES

Say yes to the things that are heartwarming and heart expanding. Also known as a Hell Yes or the things you fully know you want to do. 

2. Keep your boundaries

Saying Yes is amazing and can open you up to a world of opportunity. Don't forget to say NO when you're not up for it, the situation doesn't serve you. 

3. Give yourself down time.

The point of vacations are to reset and relax. Whether you are near or far from home, try not to overload your schedule with to-dos and social activities. And if you over-do it, schedule some recovery time. 

4. Lighten up & Indulge!

Seriously, indulging can be a vice or a strength. It's important to loosen up a bit. Are you on a strict diet or always going to bed on time? Well, time to shake it up and indulge in that thing you really really want! Or if you are in in the midst of chaos and crave normal sleep schedule... INDULGE yourself and go to bed.

5. Sleep less

No need to be sleepless, but it's the perfect time of year to sleep less. Take naps if you need. With the longer hours of light, our bodies biochemically are available to less physical rest (if you are super burnt out this doesn't work this way, but for most people this works wonders)

6. Time IN

Spend time IN CONNECTION with the people you love. Phone calls instead of texts. Walks and talks. Linger over dinner with your family and friends. 

7. Put down the screens

Tv, movies, social screen time used to be an indulgence. Now they are the common way that most of us spend our days. Summer is tactile, time to be outside, be looking into people's eyes and noticing the beautiful world around you. 

8. Move, move, move your body.

It's a great time to train for a big event or push yourself physically

9. Absorb natural Vitamin D

Aka - go out in the sun, during peak hours, for 20 min with as little covering as possible. This is especially good for people who have symptoms during the Winter.Good self-care in the Summer is a wonderful antidote to the winter blues. 

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10. Take good care of your heart

Many of us have had a broken heart at some point in our lives. Due to a relationship, death of a loved one, precious animal or all the injustices we see in our world all the time. The Summer gives us an opportunity to tap into our hearts and repair some of the broken-heartedness we have experienced in our lifetime. 

 

We hope that this list helps you cultivate a bit more joy in your Summer season. Remember it's an opportunity, to play, laugh, expand, grow and always... heal. 

Excite! Well in the West's Summer event has been postponed to 2019 or beyond. Stay tuned for some other great events by following on instagram

Grief in the Season of Joy Part V. Fin.

The thing about grief is that it gets better. It gets easier, it lessens, it lets off the gas. And at the very same time it doesn’t.

Remember the resume bullet point? (If not, go back to Part II) I had qualifications on being a professional handler of grief. I was until my dad died. Since then I have been knocked over, ribs shaking, snot-dripping crying like when I was a little girl. I have not had tears that have overcome me since I was a child, maybe a teen.

This newly experienced depth of emotion as an adult has shocked me. It has made me feel out of control, and like a small and vulnerable little girl. It has also reminded me that no matter how you prepare yourself, brace yourself for the worst thing to happen, it does not protect you from the pain. Nothing can.

The thing is, I am still a vulnerable little girl. She is there to remind me that life is hard, it hurts and sometimes I really want my dad.

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Back to things getting better. It does get better, or something. Days keep passing. The sun keeps rising. And life goes on. I have learned that something that seemed impossible one evening has full potential the next morning. 

After enough nights of sleep and sunrises that marked the passing of time, all of a sudden it was spring. Finally, after six months I was ready to go visit the place where he died.

I had craved being in the place that he died since the day after his death. The woman who called 911, who found him face down, who heard his last words, “I’m just walking.” She gave us a great gift. She found our family and told us her story.

I wanted to walk his last steps, to see where he took his last breaths. And it was more beautiful and perfect than I could have imagined. Seeing this beauty of the place he finished his steps on earth has gifted me more peace, trust and acceptance. In his last steps he walked up a small hill towards an oak tree. In the Spring, I followed the path he took in his last footsteps. The feeling of being beneath the oak tree was a sigh of relief. The oak tree had been there for his death and for perhaps hundreds of years prior. Suddenly his death felt like it was part of something far beyond his time in a human body. It was part of a greater ebb and flow of life. 

Nayyirah Waheed the mourn

I have a general trust in the order of the world. There is something about life lessons teaching us what we need to know, when we need to know them. I have realized that even when we are good and we learn the life lesson, it doesn't prevent the pain, the grief, the sorrow that comes with loss. There is nothing that takes away the humanness of the experience. That is probably my greatest lesson to share.

For now, I hope to enjoy the rest of Summer, the season of joy. To let my heart crack open with it’s aches, pains and tenderness. To let it all wash over me as an intensive lesson on duality, death, life, love and moving on.

Grief in the Season of Joy, Part I.

Summer in Chinese medicine is connected to the heart, which is connected to joy. The heart does not lie and whatever we have been feeling comes right up to the surface as we go into the summer solstice late night June 20th. The longest day of light illuminates what is within us.

For me, what is within me is grief of losing my father. I have wanted to put my grief into words so that maybe it could help someone else, maybe it could prepare them for their own sorrow. Or maybe it would just give them permission for it to be really hard, really big. But I haven’t been able to put it out there. My fear is that people are scared, they can’t handle it, they don’t want to see my pain. That might be true, but also, stories of others grief have made me feel so less alone, so less insane that finally, heart thumping, hands shaking I am sharing.

Yesterday, Father’s Day June 18th, 2017 has been 9 months since he died, to the date. It was just as hard of a day as I expected it to be.

I took my 99 year old grandmother to church, something he did 9 months ago the day that he died. I came home and I took a big, long nap. It is hard to be awake, and a feeling, hurting human. It is so hard to remember that I have no more father on Father’s Day.