Just like Christmas is “supposed” to be “the happiest time of year,” our media is often consumed with messages that summer is “supposed” to be a time when we experience long lazy days that are filled with friends and bliss. Christmas and summer can be “all that,” but the pressure that stems from not meeting our media’s expectations can make a ho hum holiday or season worse. Life is life and the not so fun things that happen to all of us might just occur during a time that is “supposed” to be happy.
Free Yourself of Summer Expectations
So how do we let go of these expectations that have been so ingrained in us? How do we ignore the constant ads that our media is feeding us whether we are paying attention or not? How do we consciously take charge of our own lives rather than unconsciously get sucked in to this cultural norm our media has created?
Step one is present moment awareness. We can’t make any changes until we are aware. Start diving in to the season of summer. How do YOU define summer? The English language is incredibly vague and many of us just assume we all define summer or happiness or joy in the same way. A fun party trick could be to ask everyone around the room to define summer (or happiness, fun, etc). What you will notice is that people will define it in very different ways.
To further clarify for yourself your personal definition of this season, pull out a pad a paper or jump on your computer and answer the following.
When you think of summer what images come to mind?
Write down your first memory of summer?
What was your best summer ever?
What were you doing?
Who was with you?
Your worst summer?
What were the circumstances?
What do you love about summer?
What do you hate about summer?
What expectations do you carry about summer?
How is this summer going?
Are you happy with how summer is unfolding?
Are you getting caught up in the fall clothes that are already being displayed in the stores and feel like summer is already over?
Spend some time applying present moment awareness to our media’s images. What themes are you noticing? Have you been seduced? How does it impact you? How do you feel when you see beautiful people drinking the best booze over a camp fire on the beach? When you check out Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. how do you feel when you look at all the pics of people having the best summer ever? How does this impact you? Are you being seduced by media, by the vast amounts of money being produced by people selling happiness?
I once learned from a wise person that we get to start our day over at any time. If we are having a terrible day, we can start it over at 8pm. So if you feel like your summer has been awful, or is slipping away and not going the way you wanted it to, you still have plenty of time left.
Are you designing your summer, or is someone else?
When I think of summer as a child it feels like it all organically unfolded and just magically appeared. Even as an adult I have to remind myself that my mom and dad were making many of these magical things appear. They were the designers in the background. I have noticed that many of my clients, myself included, remain in that childlike state and are waiting for the magic to begin.
Here’s the deal though, we are the creators of our own magic. We are our own prince charming. It’s all about designing and then harmonizing. Claiming your rightful place and climbing in to the driver’s seat of your own personal school bus rather than hanging out in the back waiting for the magic to happen.
So how do you want to design the rest of your summer? How do you want to design today? How do you want to design the weekend? We always have choices despite the fact that they aren’t always appetizing. What do you need to do to reclaim your energy? Your joy? Use jealousy and envy as a tool, hints that you too would like to be hanging out with friends at the beach. What do you need to do to make this happen?
Once we have our design in place go for it! Do whatever you can to ensure that it happens. Instead of relying on an unreliable person to take care of your children, hire a sitter. Ask for help! If you want to try out kayaking, ask a friend if you can borrow theirs rather than denying a potential joy because you aren’t in a place right now to purchase one. If you want to check out live music and your partner would rather not, ask a fun and uplifting friend to join you.
Make the best out of any situation, planned or unplanned.
It is important to note, however that things will inevitably interrupt your design on occasion. My yoga class on the beach was interrupted last Monday by a trip to the ER due to a deep cut on my son’s inner lip (that didn’t need stitches after all!). The partner or kids might get sick, the traffic jam will occur or the concert cancelled. This is where harmonizing plays a significant role. How can we let go of our design for the time being and embrace what is? Perhaps you are meant to slow down, to go to bed early, to have a night in or call an old friend. These sidetracks could indeed be the magic. The key is to let go in the moment and allow for a redesign. For example, now that you are in for the evening how do you want to design the night? Now that we are at the ER for the next two hours, what can we do to make an uncomfortable and boring event more tolerable?
And finally practice the art of saying yes. Yes to yourself on a deep level. Yes to the last minute invite, yes to an early bedtime because you are burned out, yes to a quiet weekend, yes to an early workout routine, yes to a new business adventure, yes to having your own last minute party. By listening to our truth tellers, our body and alive-o-meter (energy), practicing present moment awareness and designing your days/moments, this summer will begin to start flowing in ways you never thought possible.