Over this summer I’ve been pondering stories that have shown up over the past three months and those from a more distant past. They’ve drifted up from somewhere in my unconscious to say: “Hello, do you remember who you were in the summer of nineteen sixty three or nineteen eighty one or two thousand five or two thousand fifteen or. . ?” Curiously, when I allow my mind to drift back to summers past, I see water. For decades I spent summers at the lake and strangely, fluidity seems to be calling me home again.
When you reflect on your summers present and past, what stories emerge for you? Who and what stands out? Where, when, why and how were you in these particular stories? What parts did you play in the dramas you see in reflection? How have you been changed by these stories and which ones brought laughter, sorrow, anxiety and lovingness? Why do you suspect the ones you’re remembering are showing up at this time in your life? What are the messages that might be here for your self reflection?
This exercise took me into the summer of nineteen sixty three when I was a sixteen year old shy guy. I’d been dating the same girl for six months without a kiss because of my insecurity and shyness in the ways of romance. I made a date with ‘my girl‘ to spend a couple hours on the lake one summer afternoon. I pulled up to her dock in my boat, she got in and we took a slow ride around the lake. Ten minutes later the talk stopped; I turned to her as she turned to me, our lips met and that kiss lasted a lifetime.
One story after another from my past started flowing from this inspiring recollection. I saw trials, tribulations, joys, sorrows, high and low points, struggles, successes, failures, endings and beginnings; all of which showed growth, flowering, withering and decaying. I saw my stories intersecting with your stories, sharing universal themes with stories I’ve lived and shared with people from all walks of life, all races, all manner of comedies, tragedies, dramas and ongoing sagas. I saw summers of discontent and delightfulness.
Might the wonder of summer simply be the amazing variety of emotions and events that can happen when it’s warm and relaxed? I’ve heard that some of the best memories are made in flip flops while others have said the best memories are made by the fire or in a boat or under the stars. The point for me is not necessarily where but why and how. Why does one event in a season stand out while another doesn’t. How does the inner energy of the moment interface with the outer energy of the environment?
In remembering the above summer moment so many decades ago I saw how fear, shyness and insecurity disappeared. The kiss was as natural as turning toward one another. The moment was ripe for the kiss and for the dramas that followed over the decades after. Providentially that kiss on a beautiful summer day changed my life. One singular moment in the summer of my youth touched and transformed me in ways I never could have imagined. Did the song sing itself to transform me on that day?
The more years I put into this lifetime the more curious I become. How is it that we can find the depths of summer in an unknown winter and the flowering of spring in a leaf falling from a tree? How is it that we can see the past in the future and the future in the past while living in the present? Are the seasons of our life built into our internal operating design as they are in the ongoing seasons of our outer environments? Does life end and begin in each breath, each heart beat, each kiss, each loss, each gain?
I’ll finish here with some wonder words from Jane Clayson: “There are seasons in life. Don’t ever let anyone try to deny you the joy of one season because they believe you should stay in another season. . . . Listen to yourself. Trust your instincts. Keep your perspective.” And, enter into the joy of the moment. See the beauty. It’s everywhere!
- Open some reflection time today, this week and throughout the year to re-view the significant moments over your many summers of Life. Notice what took you up and what took you down. Look at how you allowed this, how you dealt with it and how you’d engage it differently from where you are today. . . .
- Reflect on the reality of repairing the past and preparing the future by living in the present with greater awareness, acceptance and appreciation. . . .
- In your journalling time this week, ask yourself what ‘stories’ you’re telling yourself about the who that’s you and the who that’s not you. Then live into the feeling of being free from your negative stories and . . . . experience the feeling of ‘summer wonder.’