If you are anything like me, you are really needing a holiday! Good thing that summer is now upon us, as this is the most popular time of the year to come out of our cocoons, to "get away”, slow down, and visit with friends who were also too busy over the winter.
Just how we go about doing this, of course, depends a lot on one’s personality, interests, income, and family status.
Many families know how to have fun with their kids. Outdoor activities are especially popular, such as swimming, camping, hiking, cycling, BBQ’s and more. The warm weather tends to draw us out. This is especially good for those of us who spend too much time in front of T.V. screens and computers!
Those who do not have younger children at home (true for a growing majority of adults), sometimes one can "borrow” a child or two and have fun, or get together with the extended family and play games, eat food, and enjoy the company.
Of course, most of these activities do not need to involve families at all!
If activity is what you are looking for, the Parks and Recreation Guides put out by most cities are packed with lots of great ways to have fun and relax, and/or improve one’s physical sense of well-being.
While all of these activities are great, sometimes we miss the true goal of re-creating (the opposite of dis-ease). What is it that truly energises us, inspires us, and reconnects us to our souls? Sometimes "activities,” per se, are not the answer.
Relationships are usually key to answering this yearning of ours. Relationships can include those with our spouse or partner, children, extended family and the like. Relationships can also be meaningful with closer friends, those with whom we enjoy certain activities or interests, and relationships with the earth, the Divine, and our own being.
Such relationships may not be so centred on "activities” as much as on better learning how to "be” with those who are important to us. To sit on a log near a quiet lake and observe what nature has done to make that spot a living space, to go skinny-dipping after sunset and feel the freedom of water touching one’s body, to meditate and share the experience with a friend or partner; such "activities” lead us to be human beings, not human doings.
Often at the core of reclaiming our beings is the art of slowing down. This is far harder to implement than it is to contemplate, especially in our culture! Turning off the T.V. to read a good book, spending more time outdoors or with loved ones are equally difficult. But filling one’s days with activities, like watching T.V., can be addictive and sap our inner energies.
This is why we need summer-times to rejuvenate ourselves; hopefully with the intention of taking what we gained in the summer and integrating some of this into the rest of the year.
Doing so may raise questions such as, "is it necessary to be so busy all the time?”, "Are there changes in our life-style that can better utilise energies?” or "What truly makes our life more meaningful?”
Above all, I believe it is important to play, to sing as though nobody is listening, to laugh, to reconnect and to come to love the being that God so exquisitely knit together in our mother’s womb.
May your summer be a time of meaning, being, re-creation, and fun.
Ian Gartshore is a therapist and energy consultant, and especially a human being.