Summer’s Challenge

Summer. Strong and tall it smiles broadly, grinning with scandalous confidence and invitation. Wide-shouldered with the magnitude of ancient oaks it stands strikingly against the backdrop of the milder seasons. The twinkle of mischief in its sparkly nights and the let’s-get-out-of-here- recklessness of its bright blue skies are something the other seasons only wish they had. Looking us square in the eyes, July reaches out to the potential in us and challenges with an Are-you-ready-for-this?-raised eyebrow and smile curving at the corners. You see that June was only the beginning with fumbling steps and August will be scurrying blind to the finish, but here, now, it’s just us and the blazing hot, pouring rain, passionate and playful heart of summer, and it wants to know if we’re in or out. July’s summer laughs with the children and dances crazy with the youths, but for us, adult-like and proper, it wants to take our hands firmly in its own and lead us to the verdant and freeing views of possibilities waiting for the ready soul.

It’s easy to understand why children love summer. Free time and play time, day camps and weeks-away camps, new sports, old friends, late nights and later mornings are all part of the flexed schedule intended for their best. It’s a carefree time to follow their hearts, experience adventures and explore curiosities. It’s a break from the press and pressure of the school year. It’s time designed to let them be kids again, giving them permission and encouragement to revel in what matters most to them, to discover and pursue their passions, in whatever large and small ways we can afford. And somewhere inside our adult mind is a voice that says, "You better enjoy this now, because when you get older it’s a whole other ballgame." Playing and dreaming is for kids, but the adult world is all about practical reality. Or is it?

How we live day-to-day often reflects that belief. Work trumps vacation and responsibility trumps play more often than not. It’s an obviously important and necessary reality that allows us to survive. But what do we do when our hearts and souls push back and say it’s not enough? When the inner, and sometimes wiser, child in us stamps its feet and says, "I don’t like this. Make a new reality." If we’re brave enough, we listen and start to wonder, "Is this possible?" And in that very question the possibility begins and the start of a new reality is born where deeper living trumps mere existing, thriving trumps surviving.

The winds of summer whisper this potential to us every year from the play and freedom we give our children. If we allow our kids three months to ponder and pursue their interests and passions, knowing it helps restore balance and encourages their development, then wouldn’t building “summer-esque” moments into our own lives be good for us as well? In her book Make Your Creative Dreams Real*, SARK reminds us that time flows naturally to that which is visible, active, important and necessary. Our emails and dust piles, deadlines and clothes piles grab the attention and get done daily. But when do our dreams and passions get a slice of our time? When was the last time we gave ourselves permission to take an hour or two from the press and pressure of everyday to pursue what matters most to us, for our own enrichment and growth? A new reality is waiting to be shaped beyond our longing and words. If not now, then when?

Summer. Strong and tall it smiles broadly, grinning with scandalous confidence and invitation. So are you in or out? Let this be the season for saying “I’m in!" Dust off those dreams, let your interests be seen, dive into your heart and bring out what needs to be a new priority, necessary even, for the very breath and depth of a best life lived.

* SARK. Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, Avoiders, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.