In my last blog post, I shared that radical self-care is the only thing keeping me going through a difficult transition. Christine Valters Paintner, whose job title is “Online Abbess and Dancing Monk” of Abbey of the Arts, shared in a recent blog post her ideas for how to savor summer. Her suggestions and questions for reflection struck me as tangible applications of what I wrote about previously. Below is an excerpt from her article to spark your creative exploration of self-care. I will certainly add some of her recommendations to my regimen and look forward to savoring summer. To read the full piece, go to http://abbeyofthearts.com/blog/2016/07/17/savoring-summers-sweet-slowness-a-love-note-from-your-online-abbess/
Summer calls me to relish the gifts of slowness, attention, and wonder. The season immerses me in the sacramental imagination—the recognition that everything is holy, everything shimmers with the sacred presence if we only slow down enough to see.
Let's celebrate summer's gifts with a list of some things that should be done s-l-o-w-l-y:
- Taking a long swim in the open water, feeling the stretch of your muscles
- Eating fresh sweet berries and peaches letting the juice drip down your chin and fingers.
- Cooking a meal with complete loving attention to each chop, sprinkle, and stir.
- Napping in a patch of sunlight.
- Hiking deep in the emerald woods.
- Ordering a soft-serve cone from the ice cream truck and giggling as it melts down your hand.
- Buy yourself a bouquet of peonies or sunflowers at the farmer's market.
- Listening to the rhythms of the ocean until you discover your own heartbeat hidden there.
- Rubbing a dog's belly.
- Rolling in the grass.
- Letting a piece of music wash over you and knit itself into your being until you find yourself dancing.
- Listening. To a friend, a spouse, a stranger. To silence, to the holy presence.
- Making love and being loved. Treasuring the sacred gift of touch.
- Gazing upon a work of art or a sunset and really seeing it. Gazing upon a loved one and really seeing them.
- Transformation: The long slow process of becoming who we really are.
- Breathing. In. Out. In. Out.
- Grieving. Experiencing the fullness of sorrow and loss.
- Basking in gratitude for the simple joys of each day.
- Lingering under the bone-white face of the moon as she blesses the night.
- Allowing at least one moment each day when you release doing and simply are.
Consider making a list of the summer gifts you love and then letting your summer practice be to enjoy one slowly each day. What are the things worth savoring? What might happen if you slowed down enough to hear deeply the God who speaks in sheer silence? What is being whispered to you there?
May each of your journeys unfold with a thousand delightful surprises these summer days. May the sun bring you the gift of illumination. May the sweetness of summer elicit a long sigh of surrender from the deepest places of your being.