Monday, June 17, 2013

Soaking up the rays...

I have a confession.  Today, I indulged in sun worship.  And I liked it!

Oh.  My.  God.  Did I love it.  It felt like coming home.  It's probably not what you think, either.  At least not entirely.

It was one of those things that sort of happened on a whim.  I was enjoying a day off.  The kids were at school.  My house was blissfully peaceful and quiet.  I had a solid intention to organize today.  My to do list was lengthy and I was on quite a roll with the productivity.  That was exciting in and of itself!  It was about 11 am.  I thought about how much more I could accomplish in the 4 hours before my son came home from school. There was hope I'd make a significant dent in the to do list!

Then, I gazed out the window.  I noticed the crisp blue sky.  The vibrant green of the leaves in contrast.  I became aware of a gentle breeze and smiled at the soft song of the wind chime on the front porch.  I noted the temperature was 78 degrees.  I went back to my to do list.  The rustling of the leaves kept calling my attention back to the outdoors.  I kept gazing out the window.  Then, I started to think about the weather and priorities.

It's the first really summer like day we've had that I actually had an opportunity to enjoy.  I stopped mid-task.  I had an internal conversation with myself that went something like,

"You should go lie in the sun for a change.  You deserve some down time"

And then, the practical voice, "But I have so much to do and I'm on a roll.  I'll be on vacation soon, there will be plenty of opportunity to chill at the pool in the sun".  

The slacker voice countered, "Yes, but right now, it's just you.  Alone.  Blissfully alone....blissfully.  Alone...."

Dammit.  She was right!  And it was gorgeous outside.  I listened to my inner voice.  The one that wanted me to nurture me.  I changed into my bathing suit, donned sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat, grabbed some reading material and a big glass of water and settled myself on the deck.

Suddenly I was transported to a place of relaxation and peace.  I smiled without consciously being aware of why.  I read for about 5 minutes but couldn't focus.  I closed my eyes.  I listened.  I saw.  I felt.  I remembered.  I experienced sitting in stillness and absorbing the environment around me.  It's amazing what you notice when you are not trying to notice anything.

I heard the wind through the trees.  I heard the birds calling to each other.  Some I could identify by their song, others I could not.  I heard a dog bark.  A car drive by.  Someone next door sneezed.  A critter scurried under the deck.  I thought of how I'd not have been aware of those things in the house, preoccupied with 'work'.  How much we miss because we are preoccupied.

I felt the warm sun on my face and my skin.  I felt the breeze against my skin and blowing through my hair. I noticed the directional change.  I could tell when a cloud happened by and blocked the sun briefly.  I had instant memories of similar sunny days where I'd lay in the sun and relaxed.  Mostly in my youth.  At my parents pool, at the beach, in the yard.  I thought about how I spent many hours and may days of every week outdoors, in the sun. It's funny how the brain works, associating certain external conditions with memories and how instantly they can resurface without trying to remember them when those circumstances are recreated.

The memories of days like today are few and far between since becoming a grown-up, having a family and working full time.  That, in and of itself, was a message I needed to hear and be mindful of.  Must take time for me.  Must take time to play.  Must take time to appreciate the world around me.

I opened my eyes and saw a heart cloud.  Of course.  I smiled.  I said thank you. I noticed how pretty our yard is.  I watched the birds, bees and even a butterfly.  They seem so carefree.  I closed my eyes again.  I became even more mindful of the sensations and sounds.  I felt warm, connected, peaceful and yes, even relaxed!  It was a miracle!  I relaxed!  In the sun!  For almost 2 hours!  It was like a vacation!  I've always said I'm solar powered.  It's true!  It's really true!  The vitamin D boost was a bonus.

I became keenly aware of how small we, as people, are.  How vast and powerful nature is and the world around us.  Let alone the Universe!  How much information is there for us.  How much the sun, moon, earth and stars have to teach us.  If only we'd take the time to listen and appreciate their wisdom.  As if to punctuate my thoughts about the beauty and power of nature, the gorgeous sunny day soon gave forth to thunderstorms, gusty winds and torrential downpours, that brought their own beauty, sights and sounds.  Ah, Mother Nature, she's a fickle one...Oh, hey, we have something in common, then!  ;-)

After a while of worshiping the sun and soaking up her glorious warmth and energy, I suddenly felt compelled to write the flood of thoughts and ideas that had burst forth from my sun worshiping.  I was a bit taken by surprise.  My intent in going out to lay in the sun was so I didn't have to do anything.  I wanted to be.  To relax.  My soul had other ideas.  The writer's block I've been struggling with was suddenly lifted.  I grabbed a notepad and a pen and tried to write my thoughts and ideas as fast as they were coming.  I'd no sooner put it down and rest my head and close my eyes when I'd feel driven to pick it up again and write more.  This went on for quite some time.  I've got several pages of messy scrawled words and phrases that I do believe is the birth of a book or two.  Raw.  Automatic.  Literally out of brain and on to paper.  I don't even remember most of what I thought of or wrote!

As the time for my son to return from school neared and the storm clouds rolled in, I thanked all the nature around me for the gift of today.  I pondered with gratitude that I was able to have this experience on so many levels.

The piles on my desk are still there.  My to do list still begs for my attention.  The sun is once again shining and dancing through the leaves on the trees.  It's so pretty.  So energizing.  The rain and wind brought cleansing to the air, the land and my soul.  I feel more grounded, centered and connected to earth and spirit.  My usual stress over what needs to be done is just not there, despite the fact it all still needs to be done.

Turns out I gave myself more than the gift of a little old fashioned 'sun worship' today.  I re-discovered the importance of self-nurturing.  Of truly relaxing and unplugging, even if just for a short time. Of the healing power of nature.  I truly soaked up the rays of love and light.  Of spirit.  You just never know what gifts await, if you take the time to follow that inner wise girl.

What did she tell you to do today?

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