Commencing with Summer

Summer abounds with opportunities to notice our place on the Great Wheel of Life. And it all begins with June. Graduation. Weddings. Reunions. We gather to acknowledge movement from one part of life to another. For just a few minutes we come together like a tribe to remember, to catch up with ourselves. We look forward and look back, trying to make sense of this world where children transformed into young adults overnight while we forgot to notice. And then we begin to make room for the next opening.

I’ve attended a ton of commencement ceremonies in my life as a teacher, a family member and a friend. I love the way you can eat hopefulness with a spoon at every one of these occasions, even if you’ve felt immune to all the sentimentality.  For me there’s a moment or two of reflection and a chance to quietly celebrate all the commencements in my life, past and present. That moment has always been there, even when I was mostly celebrating never having to try to usher reluctant seniors through the last spring of high school ever again.

There’s a whole lot of commencing going on in most of our private lives, too, this time of year. During this season of refulgence, it’s as if nature outdoes itself and won’t back off on its gifts. Warm weather and long days take us by the shoulders and demand that we celebrate possibility. There’s an expansiveness of hope right now. We plant starts in our gardens. Attempt to wrangle our summer plans for trips, activities. Savor sunsets and picnics and reunions.

From this vantage point, it seems these long and hospitable days will never wane, and all that’s ahead is an endless summer. I’m often shocked when September comes that it all could have been here and then disappeared so quickly. But every year I believe in the myth of the endless summer once again. I’ve often wondered why.

I can think of a couple of reasons: first, as the world around me gets warmer and business as usual is interrupted by vacations and celebrations, as things slow down, so do I.  There are more opportunities to sit in the shade, stare into space, surrender the efficient schedule. Weather and nature and the world around me invites me to show up, to Get Here when I can. Which is now.

Or in the next few minutes. After all, it’s the season of the slacker. I still have a lot to learn…or unlearn.

What opportunities to do you foresee this season to reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re going? Are there opportunities to do this with friends or family? What can you create? Can you do that as a slacker, making it simple and slow?

Where and when will you find time for yourself  to be where you are for a few minutes (or more) during your day? How can you make this a habit, when you remember?