Slow down…it’s SUMMER!

ImageDriving down the street the other day my husband and I came bumper to bumper with a “slow poke” driver. There are slow drivers, but then there was this old, beater truck with a baby tree in the back. I smiled, “they are probably going slow so their new tree doesn’t fall over.” We then got to a point where we could pass her & it was a big reminder to SLOW DOWN…life is short & summer is even shorter. I still wish I would have been able to capture the image on my camera. It was a women, wearing a woven cowgirl type style hat, eating a popsicle, just enjoying the ride. It was a darling moment—her casually enjoying her childhood ice pop, tenderly driving her baby tree home to its new destination. A priceless lesson of how summer should be, so I thought today I would put together some additional ideas on how to slow down this summer and enjoy the ride!!

ImageMake your own home mades: Whether your family loves freshly squeezed lemonade, fruit punch ice pops, hot chocolate chip cookies, home made buttermilk pancakes, or fresh wheat break for their pb&j’s, take a moment, slow down and make something home made for your family.

ImageSit under a tree: Trees have this amazing energy & will freely give…Trees are among the world’s greatest givers. Their slow and gentle life cycles provide the world with clean air, their roots fi lter water, and their majestically spreading branches provide shade. Full of vibrant, natural energy, trees can also give us the gifts of peace and nurturance. Hug- ging or sitting with your spine against the trunk of any tree can ground your body and inspire a profound closeness with nature, as the energy of the tree connects to you. Making physi- cal contact with a tree can help you relax, alleviate stress, sleep more deeply, and hold on to more positive energy. Trees can absorb great amounts of energy and have the ability to soak up harmful energy from deep within you. If you are feeling anxious, sad, drained, or tense, then try hugging a tree. Go to the woods, a garden, or a park, and fi nd a tree that you would like to hug. Stand next to the tree and close your eyes. Relax your senses while breathing in the scent of leaves and bark. Listen to the creaking of the branches…If you would feel more comfortable, you can sit with your back pressed to the tree for the same effect…Remember to thank the tree because, by hugging your tree, you are drinking from the well of natural copious energy cultivated by the tree’s many years on this earth. –

Image“To swing or not to swing.SWING!” 

Swing high: As a kid swinging had this magical sense of flying, feeling as if you could touch the clouds, having now worries and then jumping as far and high as possible. I think a good swing can take you back to the feelings of possibility and take worries away, so slow down and have a good swing!

Image“Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.”  -John Ruskin

Plant a flower and watch it grow: There is wonder and ah in watching a seedling grow, seeing the sprouts, watching it reach toward the light and changing each day. Watering its little pot and observing how the water seeps into the rich soil to drain in small puddles. There is a natural flow, a magic that can be pushed, forced or changed. Nature holds so many lessons and watching a flower grow in love, nurturing its small, delicate petals, talking gently to it…everything about it slows the world around you. It makes you stop and take notice of the little details, the progress it has made, the timing of everything.

Image“If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.”  -Nadine Stair

Walk barefoot: There was a wise man who one said if you always walk the earth in leather shoes—it will feel like the earth is hard leather.

Image“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” -Frank Kafka

Have some quiet time: Whether you create a specific time to take a nap, gather your children around for quiet reading time or just do nothing…quiet is good. We often have too many stimuli around us all the time (the television noise, gaming, the inbox, the phone, loud music, neighbor drama, cars whizzing down the street…) slow down and let your mind rest.

Disconnect: Have a No electronics day or each day limit it to one hour & that is it. Try leaving your phone home when you go on a walk. Limit checking your emails to 2x a day. If your constantly carrying your phone, you will have interruptions, so be mindful. Have limited television watching, by having the kids earn one television show or movie for a special occasion.

Image“We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.”  -Anon

Play a simple game: Slow down with a fun card game or pull out a set of jacks, maybe a fun outdoor game of croquet. Simple games allow the mind to wander while also engaging in something that avoids boredom and can spur on a little fun. Simple is better.

Image“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, was really going in.”  -John Muir

Do something outside that is relaxing: like bubble blowing, cloud watching, star gazing, go on a nature walk, chalk drawing, have a picnic, lay in the long grass, listen to the wind, watch the trees sway. Nature has a connecting quality that seems to heal our soul. Over and over I read about nature, the lessons we can learn, the natural cures she holds, the health benefits, the peace. Nature has a magical charm that we often overlook to help us slow down, to change our perspective, to see our own personal needs. We just need to see it.

Image“Water, air and cleanness are the chief articles in my pharmacy.”  -Napoleon Bonaparte

Fresh air: Open your windows as much as possible. We use to not have as much asthma or breathing problems in our children. We use to leave our windows open to blow in fresh air and send the stagnate, dead air away. We don’t usually do that any more. We turn on our a/c and let everything circle and circle. Open your windows, dry your clothes outside for a change, let the wind take away any worries, to clear out your lungs, to send in the natural fragrance of a lilac bush.

ImageTry slowing down the things that are routine: Can you consciously begin to eat slower during meals? What about driving, can you slow down or not get frustrated at other drivers?

Stop multi-tasking for one day: Begin one day at a time. Can you take one day and focus on one thing at a time? Can you be present in each moment & not thinking of the next and the next list of things that need to be done. Try it and see how you feel. Then try it another day and another, soon you will be slowing down your mind and enjoying the summer and not list tasking through it. ENJOY IT!

ImageJust Breathe.

Well, those are some ideas to get you started on slowing down & taking the time to enjoy your SUMMER.  Have a Happy day!! -Heather