As summer winds to a close, did you wish you could have found the time to spend more time relaxing? In this strange summer of Covid-19 and masks, fear and lock downs; did you stop to take care of your own mental health – ‘cause I know you were busy caring for everyone else.
Summer is a great time to slow down a bit, and focus on your own emotional self-care. Self-care and emotional wellness are empowering. One aspect of that which is so often neglected is our spiritual growth.
NO! don’t run off yet.
Spiritual growth means more than simply sitting in church, attending a class, or meditating. Spiritual growth can come from simple pleasures like a few minutes of contemplative thought about your life, past, future, or anything that means a lot to you.
The only requirement for spiritual growth is a willingness to think deeply about the values you possess and what matters most to you.
Use the warm evenings of summer as a time to grow spiritually. Can you find a few minutes to sit near a large body of water such as a lake or ocean? The presence of water can be very soothing.
Or maybe, like me, you like the peace of the mountains. Go hiking, sleep outdoors. Stare at the stars and wonder at their glory.
Here are some suggestions for spiritual growth even as you have fun and take care of everybody:
- Spend time around a campfire.
- Travel to the beach and watch the waves.
- Get away to a peaceful destination, such as a trail or park.
- Take a class or attend a retreat.
- Examine the value in the small things you do.
Sit quietly, and really listen to all of the sounds around you. You can do this alone or with friends. A group outing can be very spiritual if everyone treats it as a spiritual retreat. Have each person take a journal and jot down things they notice. Ask persons to become aware of the silence, of the movement of the waves etc.- what does it do to them internally? Notice the random thoughts that flit across the mind.
Even when you are forced into play – yup, so many of us don’t want to acknowledge it, but those family gatherings and staff outings can feel like a lot of pressure – you can use your playtime to grow and develop. You can learn much about yourself while you’re at play, simply by examining the kinds of things you choose to do with your free time. How do you feel about the activity, the people with whom you are engaged? Let yourself go. Really see and feel what you’re doing.
Appreciate what you’re capable of.
Your body, just like your mind, is capable of much more than you can possibly imagine. When you use your body, think about what you’re doing. Live in the moment. Take the time to enjoy what you can do instead of taking it for granted.
Simple, but this marvelous instrument which we possess is beautiful. It is intricate. How often do you take it for granted? Stop for a minute and give thanks for all that your body has done for you, is doing, will continue to do. The aches and pains and disabilities pale in comparison to the marvelous workings of this glorious body.
While enjoying the summer sunshine, realize what a glorious gift you have in life itself. Take time to laugh, run, play, and let your hair down. Savor each moment of your summer instead of taking it for granted.
Spirituality is about connecting to self in a deeper way. Can you be intentionally deeply spiritual?
Your life and your summer are beautiful gifts, make the most of them!