THEME: Summertime - ahhh. There are so many ways that summer brightens us. Longer days, warmer nights, and opportunities to frolic or relax poolside. My absolute favorite thing about summer is going barefoot and having tan feet. Many families go on vacation, break the doldrums of the normal school-work routine. It's a time of rejuvenation and a lifting of the spirit. For many, it's the feeling of the sun against the skin, grass underfoot, or the breeze by the seashore. It's veggies being grilled, a fresh slice of watermelon. It’s music and laughter at outdoor gatherings, staying out late, and chasing fireflies. How can mindfulness help us optimize this season, to soak as much of it up as possible?
CHECK-IN: What summertime activity best describes or characterizes your present state of mind? Why? (Using creative analogies to spark clarity of how we are feeling is a favorite technique!)
MINDFUL PRACTICE: (a few materials are needed for this, so prepare ahead of time)
Part of bringing more contentment to life is to be more aware of each moment, to relish in the activity or experience at hand, to find awe in what is in front of us, and to celebrate the act of being alive. Summer brings a different set of experiences and joys that they are different from other seasons. That makes me notice and appreciate them more. The smells and sensations of summer can be revisited anytime in an internal journey.
Aromatherapy is a popular method of calming or waking up the senses. The smell of a flower or herb places us immediately in the present while conjuring up associations from the past.
Let's each select something to smell from the items presented. Take a moment to settle in, close your eyes, holding the item in your hand.
Let's do a body scan to release any tension we may feel in our face, neck, shoulders, body, legs...take a few deep breaths.
When you’re ready, inhale the scent and hold. Then exhale. Let the sensation and feelings that scent generates fill your body. You can decide how often you want to revisit the scent.
We will sit in silence - focusing on the breath (and the scent if desired) for ___ minutes. As thought arise, acknowledge and set them free in the summer breeze. To help refocus, take a sniff of your item.
SHARE: How was that? What does the scent bring to you? When might this aroma come in handy?
JOURNAL: What sensations or experiences do you associate with summer that bring you joy? Write them down. Think about each one - recreate all the sensations each brings to you.
SHARE: If you could "bottle" one of these experiences, which would it be and why?
EXTRA - TRY THIS: Here is a seaside visualization that may help you in your mindfulness practice this month. As you inhale, imagine you are the ocean drawing up into a swell as your lungs fill. Then, as you exhale, imagine the water (your breath) releasing forward toward the shore. You can become the ocean and control the waves as the "water" shifts back and forth, creating strength and then releasing. Ahhh, summer.