Today as I left the park where I walked with my friend, I realized it was almost August. When I was growing up, summer was the happiest time in my life. My family rented a cottage on a lake for a month each summer and from the time I was 11 my only restriction was to be home for dinner at 6. That exhilarating sense of freedom merged into my love of summer after I left home and went to college. First I was a student and then a teacher. Although I worked in the summer since I was 16, things were different than the routine of the rest of the year. I looked forward to summer all year willing the other seasons to be over. Then when summer arrived I pined over how quickly it went by. When I got to August 1st I would be grieving the end of summer. After I finished graduate school and became a therapist I no longer had summers off. It was shocking at first and I felt a geat loss of my special relationship with summer.
I set the intention to open to the other seasons one at a time. I realized that living for summer kept me living in the past and the future. First I opened to the crisp newness of Spring. I started to appreciate the green growth and the cool days. I noticed the sense of rebirth in the world and within me. Next I opened to Autumn. I began to really see the gorgeous golden leaves changing and appreciate the sense of the cycles of nature as the leaves died and fell. It felt like a time of letting go of the old, shedding old skin to make way for what was to come. Winter was the hardest. It took years. I hate to be cold and on the bleaker days I felt bleaker. Appreciating winter came from learning to rest and go slower. It is called the going within time in native american stories. So I learned to take the opportunity to do quieter more creative projects that happend indoors rather than resist the cold. Taking care of myself in the winter helped to dissolve the heavy heartedness and dread I had felt.
So today when I realized it was almost August, it was with surprise to know I was open to letting go of summer. Part of coming to equinimity or balance is letting go of the strength of our attractions as well as our aversions. In order to open to being present in all of the seasons I had to let go of my exclusive attachment to summer and my aversion to the other seasons. That's what I learned this morning leaving the park. Summer isn't quite so special anymore. I can see that being really hot isn't that comfortable. I still love summer but not with the same clinging and craving. Summer had to be allowed to fall off of the pedistal I had put it on in order to let go of resisting what is. Idealizing Summer is just as much a story as criticizing and resisting the rest of the seasons. Being mindful of both my pull toward things or people and my pushing away is useful. Both inform my process of bringing myself back to the present. What do you notice about attraction and aversion in your life?
My daughter is getting married on August 1st and I am very excited. I look forward to sharing my experience with you next week.