A Little Bit of Summer

One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.”

Henry David Thoreau

Our summer 2022 is wrapped in the bookend of grandkids. In June a trip following down along the Mississippi to La Crosse and now Labor Day when the grands descend on our home and our hearts for two days. The weekend marker that reminds us that summer is over, children will head back to school, the days and nights are cooler, the State Fair comes to an end, and bedtimes need to be earlier. The troupe ages 12-20 arrived to enjoy pizza, little sleep, lots of laughs, movies, late nights, eating favorite foods, enjoying favorite local activities, and celebrating their Opa’s birthday.

We want summer to last a bit longer. Summertime that brings a sense of letting go, relaxing, resting or playing in the sunshine, in a sundress and flip flops, or shorts and t shirt, offering a lightness to the body and the spirit. As we return to schedules and obligations, not totally forgotten in summer but more lived in a feeling of vacation, we also feel relieved as we do when we travel and long to return to our familiar routine. While our outer life might now feel more regulated, we long to hold onto the inner spirit of summer, the warmth of the sun within our being, the light of joy on a summer afternoon.

As I feel deep gratitude for the fact that our grands so desire to be with us and the joy they bring to our home in lifting spirit, I sit now and reflect on the overwhelming views of flooding in Pakistan and take in the horror of loss, crisis, grief, shock, and all that will not happen for those citizens and their children and grandchildren, their family unit. The incredible disruption to livelihood. The uncertainty for now and the future. The feeling of instability as life as it was known has been swept away.

One does not retract the other as there is pain and joy in every moment as we all live in one world separated only by miles. Each moment that I live, is also a moment of another’s life with a wholly different expression. Each to be honored for what it is, attended to with whatever presence we can bring to each other’s stories, knowing that all is in constant motion. Everything changes. Knowing your pain on my day of joy brings balance, truth, honesty to the full expression of living.

It is quite easy to find the sacred in these days of joy and family on a warm summer day, it is another to find the sacred in trauma or catastrophe. Yet, we do. It is there when we look, when we open to its presence, the possibility, to our memories stored within. We only need to remember our own stories of a lifetime to remind us that the peace and warmth in our hearts is there to touch. Summer is not just a season in our outer world but one that resides within.

A little bit of summer is what the whole year is all about.”

John Mayer

Summertime. It was a song. It was a season. I wondered if that season would ever live inside me.

Benjamin Alire Saenz

Some of the best memories are made in flip-flops.

Kellie Elmore

Ongoing Resource List: Reading for Heart and Mind

  • How We Live Is How We Die by Pema Chödron
  • The Bhagavad Gita, Translated by Eknath Easwaran
  • St Francis of Assisi: Brother of Creation by Mirabai Starr
  • Wild Wisdom Edited by Neil Douglas-Klotz
  • Earth Prayers From Around The World, Ed by Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon
  • The Tao of Relationships by Ray Grigg
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’Donohue
  • Unconditional Love and Forgiveness by Edith R. Stauffer, Ph.D.
  • Keep Going: The Art of Perseverance by Joseph M. Marshall III
  • Art & Fear by David Bayless & Ted Orland
  • Quantum-Touch by Richard Gordon
  • The Van Gogh Blues: The Creative Persons Path Through Depression by Eric Maisel, PhD
  • The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
  • Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris
  • Forever Ours: Real Stories of Immortality and Living by Janis Amatuzio
  • Personal Power Through Awareness by Sanaya Roman
  • Violence & Compassion by His Holiness the Dahlai Lama
  • Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Devotions by Mary Oliver
  • To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue
  • Meditations From the Mat by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison
  • The House of Belonging: poems by David Whyte
  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
  • Soul an Archaeology Edited by Phil Cousineau
  • A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield
  • Listening Point by Sigurd Olson
  • I Sit Listening to the Wind by Judith Duerk
  • Dancing Moons by Nancy Wood
  • The Soul of Rumi, Translations by Coleman Barks
  • Keep Going by Joseph M. Marshall III
  • Arriving at your own Door by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
  • The Hidden Secrets of Water by Paolo Consigli
  • Conquest of Mind by Eknath Easwaran
  • Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay
  • Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene Brown
  • Practicing Peace in Times of War by Pema Chodron
  • When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
  • On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
  • Unattended Sorrow by Stephen Levine
  • Joy in Loving, Mother Theresa
  • The Joy of Living by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
  • Let Your LIfe Speak by Parker Palmer
  • Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • The Essence of the Upanishads by Eknath Easwaran
  • Welcoming the Unwelcome by Pema Chodron
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through The Ways Of Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson
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