My Summer of Zen

“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

I LOVE SUMMER! Yes we are in the middle of a crazy heatwave but I can’t seem to get enough of it lately. I love the longer sun drenched days, the balmy evenings, open toe sandals, flowing sundresses, eating outside, ice cold wine, catching fireflies, backyard fire pit evenings,…..the list just goes on. I feel I really come alive when it’s sunny and warm and my creative energy really flows. When Memorial Day came around this year I made a bold commitment to really savor my days this summer, really take it all in so as not to be where I always seem to be in Sept..asking myself,”where did summer go -how did it fly by so fast”….

It’s as if my love affair with summer has been served up just for me as a beautiful reminder to be in the moment and awaken fully to what is happening in the now. So these days, as I begin each day I gently bring my attention to my breath. With my eyes still closed, before springing out of bed I take a few deep belly breaths in and out which gives me a chance of being here and now.

This morning ritual alongside my yoga and meditation practice have been life changing tools that help silence that racing mind that streams thoughts of an endless to-do list and all the “should / would / could have’s….those mental re-runs from my past or a future that’s still fantasy. All these thoughts are filled with self-doubt and judgment and I know that by living in them over and over again, I compromise both my physical and emotional well being. Lately though, I find I am so much quicker to notice when this way of thinking is spinning me out of the present and away from reality. As soon as I begin to stress about how I need things to be different than they actually are, I find my breath and begin again. My breath reconnects me with my body and I can acknowledge my feelings and thoughts but not necessarily drown in them or take them for real.

The moment I make this shift into feeling this pure consciousness I tap into an awesome peace deep inside myself. I am gently reminded to be kind to myself, to come back to truth and to show up fully for others in my life.

I have made a commitment to the practice of consciousness as if my life depends on it – because I am experiencing its priceless gifts. Some key learnings for me: I have learned that what is no longer for my highest good just fades away; whatever current experience I am having is perfectly designed to be there otherwise it would not be; shifting to conscious inquiry of my intention when communicating dissolves conflict and when I’m feeling out of sorts with myself or another I can find the reason by looking within to see where I might be living out of integrity.

Creating a conscious life is an infinite practice – it happens daily in how we handle small and very specific moments within ourselves and with other persons. And consciousness is always available to us in the here and now – just breathe deeply, get quiet, look around at nature’s beauty and simply observe. From this place, we can set ourselves on a path to our best health and happiness.

Happy Summer! :))

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