Thriving in The Face of Change
Summer came, and the earth still spins on its axis. At least some things are unaffected by current events. But weirdness and difficulty persist. Our nerves are ragged, our hearts hurt, our issues are flaring and we’re fed up. Something I saw on Facebook last month summed it up: ‘Dear July: I don’t want any trouble from you. Just come in, sit down, don’t touch anything and keep your mouth shut.’
But summer, the most yang of the seasons, doesn’t work like that. We plug into all that daylight and wild profusion of life around us and want to blow off some steam. Yet the usual release valves are shut. No dancing all night at a wedding, no bursting with pride at a graduation, no grabbing the best spot on the sidewalk to see the parade. We’ll have to howl at the moon next year.
So what do we do instead? Well, we could use a good detox. We’ve been on a steady diet of fear and restriction for too long. This is a chance to disconnect and take a break, and re-establish a sense of safety and security.
We can start by giving our minds a good washing, a deep soak in loving awareness. Buddhism talks about the wholesome mind, which is our natural capacity for friendliness and compassion towards ourselves and others. It may feel distant now, because it can be drowned out by too much cortisol in our systems, but all we have to do is want it and it’s right there, no ruby slippers required.
This simple summoning enlarges and illuminates the nesting area that is our heart center. We transfer to a silent, warm environment that simply supports us and allows us to rest. Slowly we unwind, and our nervous system rewires. We regain our full height as the load of worry drops from our backs and a sense of our natural dignity returns.
From the outside this may look like we’re rocking ourselves like babies in the backyard hammock, or sprawled on a blanket at the beach, breathing in the ozone sea air. Those around us will know instinctively that healing is taking place and may seek it for themselves.
The yang quality of summer is strong but it need not be harsh. If we don’t try to tame it, it will offer, on its own terms, what we need. And as we learn to work with its offerings, we are given powerful tools for whatever comes next.