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
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The bedroom takes on new meaning when we move into the balmy nights of summer. Instead of a place to cozy away and hibernate under thick covers, Summer calls for a sanctuary that is light, and refreshing. Sleep becomes a kind of balancing act; a time for your body and mind to cool down, assimilate, and rejuvenate from the heat of the day.
Particularly as we draw towards the holiday period, with so many things to do and people to see, it can become harder to quieten our minds for a good night’s rest. Yet this is the time we most need rest - to fill our own well of being, so we can give generously to the things and people that matter.
You may be realising now that the last thing you need is yet another task to do - we agree!
There are certainly benefits to physically changing our environment to evoke a peaceful mood. There is even more power in adapting our attention, to re-view our surroundings, interactions and choices.
The bedroom is an ideal place to begin, by waking up awareness to how we create our daily rhythm. Here are 3 considerations we invite you to play with. These have capacity to add so much depth to your experience, yet takes only moments of your time.
1. Breathe in, breathe out
Breathing - the act that sustains our livelihood, and an act that is all too often overlooked. Through bringing attention to breath upon waking, we can observe many clues about our mindset, our physiological state, and more deep-seated emotions.
A GENTLE WAY TO AWAKEN
As you slowly emerge from the mistiness of sleep, start to notice your first waking breaths.
What is the temperature of the air as it travels through your nostrils?
Can you sense the texture of your breath? Is there openness in your airways, or can you feel some blockages to your inhalation?
Can you recognise any scents lingering in the air?
Feel your chest and belly rising and falling, the weight of your covers. It’s also a nice time to open the lips and let out a releasing sigh - and maybe a few more.
By cultivating attentiveness to each breath, from the beginning of the day, we begin a kind of gratitude for the sustenance it provides us. It also sets up a beautiful home base, to which we can return whenever our senses feel overwhelmed or disconnected. Even a few full cycles of breath can be a centering meditation.
Breathe in the present, breathe out the past.
2. Set an Intention
The mind is a thinking machine, so it’s only natural to get caught up in thoughts. It might be a whirlwind of lists and nerves, and that’s normal!
Before you even get out of bed, catch yourself as your mind steers into its usual cycle. Try instead to consider how you want to feel. This can be your intention for the day, or even for the next hour. It is setting the path towards a state of being, rather than a list of accomplishments.
You may want to feel like Summer itself - warm, expansive, light, radiant; perhaps Summer brings too much heat, and you feel drawn to cooling, stillness, nurture. It can be a word, or a colour, a place or the sensation of a specific memory.
Be honest, and go with what feels most appropriate for your day. Make this a guide for how you breathe, and see if you can infuse this intention into how you move, and how you respond to your thoughts and interactions.
After all, we are human beings, not human doings. So let’s do our best to be.
3. Finding new rhythm
Our bodies are evolved to adapt to the changing daylight hours. With the sun rising earlier and setting later, you may find your sleep patterns naturally changing.
Noticing these changes, and allowing for them, is a respectful way of acknowledging the wisdom of your body. If you find yourself waking earlier, yearning for lighter foods, more water, or less intense workouts - listen, and explore how you might adapt your routine to welcome and support these changes.
Perhaps you can find 10 extra minutes to meditate, read, or enjoy time with your family in the early morning. Maybe clean up your dishes first, so you can light some candles and linger over your evening meal. It is a chance to invite in something a little different, with curiosity and openness to experiment with the rhythm of your day.
Each moment, however small, can also be significant. As writer Annie Dillard gently emphasises: ‘How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.’
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Despite its days being the longest of the year, Summer is often, in retrospect, startlingly short. This makes deepening our experience all the more important, for time and memory itself is a created through the attention we choose to give.
Re-center, and rediscover what you stand for beneath all the busyness. Re-balance, in nourishing your intentions and allowing stillness. We can then open ourselves to being more grounded in our being, more open to new perspectives, and more perceptive to the gifts of each season.
How will you enjoy your sanctuary this Summer?
We’d love to hear about your experience - leave us a comment below, and feel free to invite friends and family to share in creating Earth Life Balance!
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About the Author: Lucy Lawes is an advocate for mindful living.