Summer MindfulnesS: The practice of Observing our Natural Surroundings
I have to be honest I wrote this post when the summer hours were still long, but as our summer daylight hours shorten, cherishing the small moments of each day becomes that much more important.
So here goes.
More often than not, those of us living in the Northeast take advantage of the longer summer days to enjoy spending time outside. While there are plenty of opportunities for soaking up the sun during the weekend, it is not as easy to get out during the weekdays when you have a 9-5 in the city.
However, since Kate and I started on this journey of running our business and encouraging mindful letter writing, I have become much more aware of what mindfulness truly means to me. I have found that embracing those small moments outside and observing what’s around me (even on my short walk from my apartment to the train stop) has allowed me to enjoy the summer. I’ve watched different trees bloom, the city fashion change, and have had the opportunity to really interact with my neighbors on my daily walks with my dog Barkley.
Separately, but simultaneously, both Kate and I have been observing the different flower varieties bloom throughout the season, something I had yet to practice while living in Boston. Cherry blossoms bloomed early in the spring, and it happened fast. We had some cold days and the beautiful blossoms quickly fell to the ground. But soon after, the colorful azaleas seemed to be everywhere. Then the garden roses opened up and the dogwood trees bloomed. Most recently we’ve been transfixed by hibiscus flowers.
We’ve shared some photos of our flower observations below.
In my attempt to become more aware of my present mindset, observing my surroundings and appreciating the time spent outside has become essential.
Whether it means grilling dinners in the backyard, going for evening walks with the dog, or simply sitting on the bench in the neighborhood park, I encourage you to seize these opportunities to take in that fresh summer air because, as we New Englanders know, it will get cold :) .
Here are some ideas to help make the best of this season:
- Take note of the various trees or shrubs you pass by on your daily walk and observe them change as the temperatures warm up (or cool down). Our window box petunias are very sensitive to the humidity.
- Go for a mid day walk (not an indoor coffee break) with a co worker.
- If time and distance allow it, walk home from work one evening instead of taking public transportation and take in as much of that golden light.
- Go to the grocery store and search for seasonal produce. I promise tomatoes and corn will taste 100 times better now than they will in January. I used to think tomatoes were the same no matter the time of year until my husband, Chris, proved me wrong.
- Finish your summer reading outside. Bring a blanket to your nearest park this weekend or find a nice bench nearby to tackle that book.
The last days of summer are upon us. How will you stay present and be mindful?