We have just passed the summer equinox and had the longest day of the year. We are enjoying the fullness of summer. What does that mean and what are supposed to do with this season of light?
It is a time to connect socially with many family gatherings, weddings and parties scheduled during the warmer weather. For those that suffer from SAD, seasonal affective disorder, it is a relief to bask in the sun’s warm glow.
As George Gershwin wrote, “Summertime and the living is easy.” This is also a time to enjoy the fruits of our labor and take time to rest and relax. The literal fresh fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, etc. are ripening and bring their rich color and flavor to our tables.
Summer is prime time to vacation and enjoy a book, go for a hike in the woods or nap in a hammock.
There is another way to think about the summer season. It can relate to Joseph Campbell work about the hero’s journey. It talks about mythic heroes and also has ways of relating to our life’s journey to become our own hero.
This journey begins by leaving home. This first step correlates with the season of fall. Then the hero goes through an ordeal where he/she gains insight or wisdom. This part is associated with winter. Then the hero returns home, in the spring and shares this hard-fought wisdom with his/her community. The season of summer is about that fallow time where the hero enjoys those fruits of his/her accomplishments and rests.
So, as the end of summer approaches you can begin to feel restless. Time to get back to school or get the Seahawks season underway. Enough with this idleness already! This is the “Call to adventure” which compels you to start taking action and begin a journey of self discovery.
The challenge is not to hold onto the diversions of the summer. And there is a kind of grief in seeing the summer season depart. As the days shorten it is important to remember that the warmth of the sun will be back. Time to recall the travel, friends and fun times. The goal for us is about balance and living in the moment: Taking in the glory of a summer morning where the air is cool and on the edge of heat, to enjoy the tantalizing experience of jumping into a cool lake on a sunny day and seeking out the pleasures of a good book in the cool shade beneath a leafy tree.
We live in a work driven culture which means we are driven to continually do. We can take the time to have the experience of immersing ourselves in the natural world to find a new way of connecting to ourselves. We can allow ourselves to “be” and revel in the softness and ease summer can provide.
By living in better balance between being and doing you can find more of that place of peace and calm we all desire. Summer as a metaphor of the good season. A season where we are more connected to the natural world and can bask in the light that illuminates our inner and outer world.