“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ― John Lubbock
Recently, twenty-two women came to my home for my Summer Women’s Circles. The theme of the two gatherings? Summer joy.
So many interesting discussions arose as we read poetry, wrote and shared in small groups. But one thing clearly stood out – it’s not something we can “find.” It’s something that happens with releasing, not searching.
When I was in New Mexico last fall, my brother and I hiked to the top of the Sandia Mountains on a brisk fall day. When we reached the top, I took a deep breath and soaked it in. For about ten minutes. And then my mind started wandering — as minds do whether we are creating or standing on a mountain — and the magic faded. As Buddhist nun Pema Chodron has said, we can be standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and still have a bag on our heads. Our own thoughts can be like blinders to the beauty of the present moment.
As I stood there getting more lost in my thoughts, my brother said he was going to find a nearby geocache treasure and asked if could I wait there? I said sure, and waited. And waited. And watched my mind spin trying to distract itself. I’d had my beautiful moment, and now I was ready to get the heck back down the mountain.
As I paced near the ridge, I finally realized there was absolutely nothing I could do. Reluctantly, I surrendered. I lay down on top of the mountain, watching the clouds, and that’s when it arrived. Summer joy.
There was nowhere to go, nothing to do. All my usual clever strategies for staying busy and avoiding the moment were gone. All that was left was… peace. And an intense feeling of oneness as I lay there with the gigantic rock below me and the moving patches of white across blue above me.
When my brother finally returned 40 minutes later, he found me lying splayed on the mountain, blissed out. It was the biggest gift he could have given me.
Back in the women’s circle, we journaled to discover where summer joy moments live for us. Many were in childhood. Often in nature. Women remembered digging in the sand at the beach. Catching fireflies. Sitting on a wrap-around front porch in Louisiana listening to crickets.
It was clear that to find summer joy, we have to put aside our busy schedules and find time to just be, ideally outside. Joy and creativity are both birthed in that simple moment where we surrender all our “plans” and simply allow…
I’d love to hear where YOU find summer joy. Hop over here to comment…
Fall Creative Soul Women’s Circles
September 7 to December 7, 2016
Interested in self-discovery in an intimate Women’s Circle? The next series begins September 7 and will be based on Julia Cameron’s latest book — “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond.” For all the details, go here.