Summer is upon us and with it comes time with family, friends, barbeques, travel, camping, reading great books, sleeping in, and relaxing on a beautiful sunny day! It can also represent a break from some of our “usual” commitments, both inner and outer commitments. It might be a time when we want to take a break from the emotional, psychological, and even mental processing we feel we need to do, and just have some easy fun.
If you find yourself in this phase, wanting a more easy-breasy summer, you are not alone. It is healthy to take breaks from our deeper process and let things settle and integrate. We open to our generous nature when we spend time being with others without the focus on ourselves and our own issues. It’s also healthy to enjoy laughter and simplicity—it’s good for the Soul and the immune system. It is in this simplicity, this emptier space, that some of the best insight and creativity arise. And it is in this spaciousness that integrating awareness can anchor.
Phasing toward processing comes naturally when we are awake and aware. We actually don’t need to go looking for it. We are naturally driven to understand the ineffable. Rumi says, “There is a voice that doesn’t use words, listen.” It is not reserved for the exalted spiritually-connected few. It is a deeply inspiring core aspect of being human that instantly reminds us we are part of something much bigger than our personal egos. We will feel organic energy moving toward growth, ready to let go of a habit or pattern or embody a new practice and a more conscious awareness. To meet that growth, we need to step into a process of introspection, investigation and spaciousness to explore both what we want and what isn’t working anymore, the latter bringing up potentially painful material that has had us in its distorted cyclical grip for a very long time, then watching ourselves doing the same thing over and over and not seeing change in our life. These processing phases require psychic and emotional energy, and commitment. In the best scenario they are done in quiet spacious moments with time, patience, self-care, and focus. We may need to step away from some social engagements, meditate more, write, be alone with ourselves, listen to ourselves.
But what about the times when we don’t want to process? What about when we just want to have fun, go sailing, take an extra nap, just Be? We want to coast for awhile, travel, rest, watch good movies, eat great food, laugh with friends and family, play cards, not “overthink” things. When we are mindful and aware, these coasting phases are just as sacred and important as the one's that are spent in deep processing. They are integrative phases. They are the reflection of the work we’ve done with ourselves. They show the content of our consciousness and what we are integrating. Learning is great when it has a context and actually helps us to be happier more fulfilled human beings. But we need to tangibly feel that fulfillment. It needs to be real for us, not just a concept about a place we will get to when we are “evolved.”
But when we have done our inner work, and devoted time to clearing out old habits and perceptions that no longer serve us, we can give ourselves full permission to rest in a mindful integration while we cut loose and let ourselves enjoy the childlike, free-spirited, joyful moments of being with others in a gentler, less structured mindset. There is a soft awareness that can be adopted here, rather than the magnified awareness that accompanies deep process. For what is the point of all of the processing if we don't get to really consciously enjoy its fruits in our daily lives?
Consciously coasting is a mindful awareness that maintains a soft inner dialogue while staying present, without processing or judgment. It enjoys life from a wiser perspective and can witness our integration with loving and playfulness. It is a way of being with one another without the addiction of changing things, ourselves or them. As we mature in our ability to self-facilitate over time, we learn to trust ourselves more to hold space with the inner growth we have accomplished and can relax and enjoy just being. We aren’t frenetically trying to solve all of our issues because we have cultivated a self-loving and enjoyment of who we are and our evolving humanity, and we want to share that with others.
So, as summer descends upon you, give yourself permission to have a blast, even as you softly witness. Notice how fully you are enjoying the moment, how fully you are engaging with others, how free you are feeling. Just notice. And from this noticing, set an intention to make this the best summer you’ve ever had.