As the vibrant warmth of summer embraces us, our calendars often fill up with activities, vacations, and social gatherings. While these experiences can be joyful and invigorating, the hustle and bustle of the season can leave us feeling overwhelmed and disconnected from our souls. In this busyness, it is crucial to intentionally carve out moments of soul care and embrace the beauty of everyday life.
So, slow down, take a deep breath, and let's explore how you can nourish your soul during the busy summertime season - while still basking in the everyday moments.
Prioritize Mindful Presence:
No matter your stage of life, it's easy to get caught up in the never-ending to-do lists and multitasking of a new season - especially one that includes extra time for fun! However, taking the time to be present in the moment is essential for soul care. Cultivate mindfulness by engaging fully in whatever you're doing, whether enjoying a refreshing swim, savoring a delicious meal, taking the kids/grandkids/friend's kids to the zoo, or spending time with loved ones. By slowing down and fully immersing yourself in each experience, you can indeed find solace and replenishment for your soul. Mindful presence is living in an embodied way that keeps your soul refreshed.
Embrace Nature's Healing:
Summer is the perfect time to reconnect with the wonders of nature and find solace in God's creation. Take a break from the fullness of daily life and spend time outdoors, whether it's lounging in a hammock, going for a walk in the park, or simply sitting under a tree and soaking up the warmth of the sun. Allow yourself time to marvel at the intricate beauty surrounding you – the vibrant flowers, the whispering breeze, or (if you're lucky) the gentle waves of the ocean. Let nature be your sanctuary, where you can rest in God's presence and find inner peace - even for a moment.
Create Rituals of Rest:
While summer may be synonymous with adventure and exploration, it's crucial to balance those experiences with intentional moments of rest and rejuvenation. Establish healthy rituals that help you slow down and recharge your soul. Consider starting your mornings with quiet reflection, journaling, or meditation. I have a podcast for that! Carve out time for daily restorative activities such as reading a book, practicing yoga, an afternoon Yoga Nidra meditation (scroll down to practice now), or engaging in a creative pursuit. By making rest a priority, you create space to nurture your soul and restore your energy.
Seek Meaningful Connections:
Summer provides ample opportunities to foster meaningful connections with others. Engage in conversations beyond small talk and truly connect with the people around you. Share your thoughts, dreams, and struggles, and listen attentively to others. Invest in your relationships by organizing gatherings where you can engage in deeper conversations, such as a picnic in the park or a shared meal with friends. A handful of close friends is priceless! Meaningful connections nourish our souls, reminding us of our shared humanity and offer us a sense of belonging.
Gratitude is a powerful tool for soul care. Take time each day to reflect on the blessings in your life, no matter how small. I enjoy doing this before bed each evening. Thank God for the big and the small! Expressing gratitude helps shift our focus from what's lacking to what's present, cultivating a sense of contentment and joy. Keep a gratitude journal or share gratitude with others, whether through written notes or verbal expressions. By acknowledging and appreciating the everyday moments, you'll find that your soul is uplifted and your perspective is transformed.
During the busy summertime season, it's vital to remember to care for your soul. Slow down, be mindful, and savor the beauty of everyday moments. Embrace the healing power of nature, rest in God's presence, and create meaningful connections with others. Cultivate gratitude and let it permeate your life. Remember, caring for your soul is not an indulgence; it is a necessity in all seasons. Why not pause not and savor some time for soul care?
This is a photo of me facing fear. I am smiling because fear didn't win this round.
My best friend, spouse of 23+ years, and the person I trust most with my life loves his motorcycle. I have had a genuine aversion to the idea of riding with him. He has been patient and never forced me to love what he loves. But I have been working on my fear for quite a while now. And the day finally came for me to face it. And guess what? It wasn't awful. It was great.
Note: Please don't give me a lecture on motorcycle safety. I was already overflowing with fear for not just me but also him, which tends to resurface with lectures. And whether or not I keep riding, I don't know yet. But I did it, and now I am no longer paralyzed by the fear of simply discussing it. End of note, thanks.
In my spiritual direction practice and my friendships, I have heard more and more sharing about fear these past few years. I don't think it's coincidental that we have been living with a heightened sense of fear surrounding our health of ourselves and our loved ones. Fear has been a driving force behind many decisions for a long, long time.
I don't think God wants us to live in fear. I am sure of that (see Isaiah 4:10, Joshua 1:9, Deuteronomy 31:6). But I do believe fear can help us grow!
How do we move from a place of fear to a place of security, even when the stakes are high? How do we shift our hearts and minds (and whole bodies!) to be present and grounded, even when we are afraid?
I was afraid. But I invited my body to stop fighting with me to face my fear.
How do I face fears? First, I name them. I am grateful I have supported listeners through both counseling and spiritual direction. But if you don't have access to either, you can always name your fears with a trusted listener and get their wisdom with your next steps.
For me, there was a lot of work in advance but that day I tapped into some tools. I practiced breath work the entire ride. I got grounded in my body and envisioned a shield of protective energy from God around us as we rode. It may seem silly, but visualization and guided imagery are powerful ways to connect with God and to feel seen and cared for. I love how energy work helps my body feel grounded and balanced. I asked God what I needed to hear and let that be whispered to me the entire time we rode. I heard, "you're safe, I've got you, just be here."
Guess what? It worked. I didn't have expectations for how the ride would go, but instead, I leaned into the courage it gave me to face my fear. Want to try it?
5 Tips for Facing Your Fears
Fear can be a gift to us if we stop fighting it and embrace it wisely - in body and spirit. Fear can help us get out of our comfort zones and lean on something bigger than our own understanding. So, that's why I wanted to ride a motorcycle. Yep. What fear do you want to face?
Recently, I was asked to write an article for The United Methodist Church on embodiment and why connecting with the body matters for Christians. Here's a short excerpt of that piece and a link to the full story. Your clicking and sharing is always encouraging to writers like me.
If you've heard my story, you know that over 15 years ago, my body went through a health crisis (a stroke and brain surgery on my 31st birthday). At this time, I did not always feel like a whole person; I often felt disconnected and broken. While my body was in chronic pain, my spirit was also discouraged.
In that time of frustration, a physician prescribed yoga. I am unsure if it was the last resort on their part, but I was hurting and willing to try exercise and mindfulness. What did I have to lose? I did not know that yoga would be an invitation for embodiment and an opportunity for healing in my whole self—body and spirit.
Now, more than 15 years later, I not only practice living embodied, I am passionate about inviting others into caring for their bodies and spirits through embodied practices. If you are not interested in down dogs, I understand, but please know that yoga is not the only way to become more connected and present with yourself (although you may also be surprised).
Click here to read more and be encouraged with ideas for connecting with your own body today.
Whitney R. Simpson
yoga & meditation teacher
Click to connect:
Content @ 2010-2023
Whitney R. Simpson
Exploring Peace Ministries, LLC