When I think about summertime, I recall some fond childhood memories like lazing around the lake, going for a family trip into the Rockies, exploring new places, camping –and not having to go to school!

Ancient cultures always had some kind of routine for taking time to rest, reflect and have fun, as well. These were mostly weekly rests called the Sabbot in Hebrew/Jewish circles. But, there was also a rest time given to sections of growing land every seven years. Just like land that is not rested, without this time, people would stop producing and living well too.

For me, the summer offers an opportunity to take a rest, to play, to reconnect with favourite people (including myself!) and to rejuvenate. Everyone has a slightly different way of accomplishing this. Some people engage more intentionally in something creative such as painting or music. Some people head outdoors for camping, boating, hiking or exploring in some way. We have so many opportunities in this part of the world, whether it’s exploring beautiful and historic Newcastle Island, Paradise Meadows, the Gulf Islands, or simply a friend’s back yard. Others travel to be with family or friends for a time. We read books, garden, fish, golf, become a tourist (Coombs, anyone?), cycle, walk, spend time with the kids (mine and/or yours!) and play more. The method is not as important as is the intentionality of changing one’s routine and engaging in activities that are meaningful and rejuvenating.

It appears to me that most of these activities are a way of respecting ourselves and what is around us (people, nature, even time). The origin of the word ‘respect’ comes from the combination of two Latin words: ‘re’ (as in to return or to turn back to) + ‘specere’ (the root for our word spectacle, to look at). Literally, respect means to really look at, or deeply appreciate, the value of whatever or whoever is being attended to. Respectful people are usually more present in the moment, more peaceful, more respectful to others, and more empowering.

When we respect ourselves by resting, being creative, and reconnecting, we become angels of light and beacons of hope. We become more grounded, more loving, and thus more respectful of all around us. We touch the lives of others in more profound ways.

Thinking about my fondest childhood memories, I realize that these were moments in which I was most profoundly respectful of nature, peace, presence, relationships, and of myself.

As I prepare for my first (of several) mini summer vacations, I wish you some meaningful summer times of fun, reflection, adventure, reconnecting, rejuvenation and respect – times of seeing fully the life that is.

Ian Gartshore is a minister, therapist, energy coach, and most importantly a human.