Friday, July 19, 2013

Be Kind, Unwind

I consider myself lucky. I have the most amazing husband, live in an awesome place, have lovely friends, eat great food, have what I consider abundant resources, a beautiful life. But sometimes in the summer, I need to keep reminding myself of that.
Living in a tourist destination within a tourist destination and working in a tourist-y trade, gardens, long nights, boat rides, endless visitors who think your whole life is a vacation, starts to wear on me right about now.
This is the time of summer where I'd just as soon as move somewhere far more desolate. The Olympic Peninsula and Iceland come to mind, but I think the switch may as well be here, just a little further from civilization. It's been a long time coming. We shall see how that pans out. But do remind me of all this come next year.
In the meantime, I feel blessed to able to amble in our friend's lovely labyrinth of utterly magical plants, any night, every night if I wish, on my way home.

It doesn't take much really.
Ten minutes of walking around aimlessly, watching our bees (because surely they are our own sweet bees-no one else has any around our neck of the woods) feast on the blooms, watching and marveling at plant-friends and I feel, a heck of a lot calmer, better, more ready to face the world, to tackle the tasks necessary for another day.
Sometimes I do walking meditation, or a small mantra under my breath.
One of my all time favorite meditation tools in busy, taxing times like these, is a simple exercise aimed at letting go of the unnecessary emotions our egos push on us constantly.
Instead of wallowing in irritation, self-pity, emotional tiredness, you encounter each feeling that comes to mind by naming it and then sending it on its way.
You see them coming, recognize them, acknowledge the weaknesses in your character, or the circumstances beyond your control that lead to them.
Impatience. Frustration. Sadness. You name them, look at them objectively and let go of them rather than just sitting in their negative sphere. In meditation you're supposed to let go of the good ones too, because you're dodging the traps your mind sets to keep you occupied and not empty, but when I'm just unwinding from my day, or getting ready for the last part of it, I encounter those feelings as allies passing by.
Love. Joy. Delight. You acknowledge them and hold onto them dearly, but also don't dwell on them, just walk on, content with what you've got and what you've let go of. They're just feelings. They don't define who I am.
In the Labyrinth this exercise is easy to perform, but I try to remember it other times too, when I feel sad or low energy, it helps me keep on the right track.
If you haven't, you should try it sometime.

How's your summer? And how do you unwind from it? 


  1. awww you just made my tired, over-social, wound-up soul take a nice deep breath. i LOVE LOVE LOVE summer as i'm sure you know, but this year the constant rounds of activities are wearing me out (in the best possible way of course.) i will remember to revive myself with this little meditation. i think it will work wonders. i only wish i had a garden so magical to wander.

  2. Oh I love this post, sometimes I feel I counter my unhappiness by just making myself more busy and ignoring it. Its good to take a deep breath sometimes and acknowledge all the thoughts and feelings you don't pay attention to.

  3. This was just the advice I needed. It is so much easier to handle my emotions when I acknowledge them. Thanks for your wise words.

  4. love that last photo of you, milla. x

  5. being out in the green works wonders for me. regardless of the weather and the season, whether im walking or sat in stillness. just having time for observance (inner and outer) works wonders. daily rituals. breathe easy. you just radiate in that sunshine, milla.

  6. i really like this and will definitely give it a try, probably today :) since we've come home from yosemite everyone has been a wee bit crazy. it has left me feeling very frustrated. it's also hard to go from so much open space and solitude (i know yosemite gets crowded but all the places we went to we were alone) back to traffic and tons of people. that being said i have to remind myself of the many many wonderful things and people in my life. what you said about feelings reminded me of something i read yesterday. i don't know if it will resonate with you but i'll share it anyway. "All and all, I've learned that my feelings are a poor indication of the work God is actually doing in my soul. I have come to believe that at every turn in the road, God is drawing us along the path, whether we are aware of it or not."

  7. Wow, this labyrinth is incredible. Transport me there now!


  8. So very beautiful! My summer has been less relaxing than I would have liked due to wedding planning. (how can even a simple wedding cause so much stress???) Your post was a well-timed read for me and great reminder that I need to find moments of true quiet for myself as well. For our honeymoon we are planning a road trip from Tacoma down through Northern CA to San Fransisco and back up. Yosemite and the Redwoods, part-camping/ part "fancy livin", campfires and wine tasting... These are the things I'm meditating on!
    I caught up with The Hermitage this morning. (a fantastic blog if you aren't already a reader) She did a very beautiful post about plants that I thought you and your readers would especially love:
    Just wanted to share...

    A happy summer to you Milla! I hope someday our paths will cross!

  9. happy to read this today. really needed it!! xo m

  10. sweetness, i love this post. thanks for sharing your process.

    my boyfriend's mama lives on an "urban farm," and we spent yesterday basking in the sun of the flower garden and eating sun warmed berries. the knots in my shoulders are completely gone. access to nature is so important to my centering, it has influenced where i choose to live.

    when i'm at work, i've been unwinding by taking moments to breath and surround myself with positive messages and images. out of work, i'm taking advantage of the secluded backyard to my apartment building and reading romance novels. I KNOW but they are so easy to get lost in!

    hope you're great!