Author Judy Blume stated in a recent interview,"You can live a whole life time in summer" (Tweet it)
There is something truly unique about summer. Perhaps its the long days, or its the sense of gay abandon or its the green around you that seems to lift everyone. Summer makes you feel alive and more optimistic than ever.
Its in this general sense of well-being that meditation becomes even more difficult to fit in. In your countless summer activities, meditation seems like a chore rather than an activity to help you keep your calm. Having your children do meditation in this environment seems almost impossible.
However, with a little planning and boundary-setting, you can incorporate meditation into your summer fun and watch your kids grow into emotionally intelligent beings.
Mindfulness at the Beach
Schedule time during your vacation to practice with your kids on the beach especially, when they are playing in sand.The subtle relaxing quality of the sand and the sound of the waves is an excellent place to drop everything and practice mindfulness.
Take in the sounds and sensations, hear the waves crashing in front of you, the seagulls squawking overhead, the crickets chirping behind you, and the sound of children playing nearby. Smell the fresh ocean air, the smoke of a barbecue, and the faint scent of suntan lotion. Then, feel the sand beneath you, and the gentle ocean breeze caressing your skin. You’ll not only fee relaxed, you’ll be able to be more present with your loved ones. Here is a great mindfulness video that you can use for your kids to get them in the spirit of meditation.
Another great time for beach meditation is getting up early for a sunrise meditation, a magical option for the east coast. Or, if you vacation on the west coast, try doing a sunset meditation.
You can also practice a walking meditation.
Meditate in the park
The park is a busy place in summer but also the ideal to practice meditation. The more you meditate, the more you’re able to tolerate noise while meditating. It just becomes background noise. Take mindful walks with them where you practice listening and fee
Meditate at a Family Picnic
If you’ve grown up in the U.S., you will understand the family picnic. Everyone brings a super unhealthy dish, usually consisting of some sort of fruit-filled Jello, potato salad, potato chips, white buns, hot dogs, hamburgers, brownies, cookies, soda pop, and beer. This unending buffet of eating and drinking, sugar highs and lows, and family gossip is why many dread such an affair.
Meditation can teach you to be the observer without having to totally participate in all the unhealthy activities. Many people eat out of nervousness. You don’t really want to consume all of the junk food available, but high tension and the possibility of seeing the uncle you don’t want to see can make you lose yourself at the buffet table.
Here’s a tip: meditate before you go to the family picnic. Set your intentions on how you would like things to go and create a plan for remaining Zen even if things get tense. Visualize what food you’re willing to eat and who you’re willing to talk to. Have a meditative exit plan if you’re losing your focus on what you want out of your family picnic experience. For example, your exit could be doing something fun with the kids at the party. Your meditation might be drawing pictures with the two-year-old or doing a min yoga class for the eight-year-olds. Make a pact with yourself that you don’t have to hang with the adults if the kids are better behaved. And if Aunt Bertha asks you why you won’t eat her egg salad, you can tell her you’re on a meditative cleanse. That will either get her to stop talking or get her curious about meditation.
The personal growth you experience when you infuse meditation into your fun summer activities is unparalleled to anything you’ve previously experienced. With greater awareness, you’re able to remember your summer events in greater detail. With a calmer body and mind, you’re not only more pleasant to be around, but also more compassionate toward others.
Meditation gives you an excuse to be selfish, in a good way. It gives you greater freedom to be you. Finally, you’ll notice that your wishes for wonderful times in summer will come true as you manifest what you desire through your practice of meditation.