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What has this summer offered us? LOTS!

What has this summer offered us? LOTS!

Posted: August 25th, 2020

This summer has been different, wouldn’t you say? And it’s August, summer creeping to a close. Does that thought bring you joy or does that thought bring you something else? Children and teachers approach return to school; parents prepare themselves for another round of distance learning; college students go back to campus/online. But before we let go, let’s talk about what this summer has offered us.

Summer has always paraded as a time of rejuvenation and fun: beautiful beaches, getaways, music festivals, big vibrant farmer’s markets, a time to prepare for the next round, and tap back into how awesome it is to be alive. But I know, it’s hard to convince people to be grateful for what they used to have, when that’s not what they see right now. If you’d say your summer sucked, I get it. It’s been different for everyone.

No fancy trips for me this summer, either. (I feel that I can say “either” quite strongly, since many people did not). I didn’t even go to see my family in South Carolina, which I have made sure to do since I moved to California in 2014. Traveling is such a summer thing to do in my opinion. It’s the idea of freeing oneself from the binds of everyday life that make summer vacations like almost nothing else, except winter vacations. So, if you’ve been quarantined like me, I definitely feel you.

I could not travel this year as I have a compromised immune system. I was diagnosed with leukemia ten years ago. I know that may be a lot to drop on you here, but I wanted to, first, get that out of the way. You don’t have to say sorry. And secondly, I want to tell you why travel beyond the common Bay Area germs was not an option for me. So, I’m healthy and grateful, chilling at home. It is easy for me to say that because even with all of this summer’s differences, I can not say that this summer completely sucked.

For some people, summer vacation was just on a different scale this year. Maybe you went and did and found your joy. And if so, the rest of us are looking forward to seeing your dreamy pictures. PLEASE. We want to celebrate with you and dream about when we too will…Tag @grdnsociety and @courtneyrohan. Use the hashtags #Dreamy #JoyfulSummer.

Still, I digress. With travel out of the country on a standstill, many of us are finding our way to our beautiful state parks, other bucket-list states yet traveled in our camper. Maybe we’ve been happy on our boat for a time, at our cabin, or second home. And this definitely doesn’t suck.

Regardless of where you’ve been or not, I encourage you to see what this summer has gifted us. It has given us something special. I encourage you to contemplate the good that has been for you or maybe even for someone you care about, instead of wasting your time contemplating what summer was/is supposed to be.

What does the phrase supposed to really mean, anyway?

It is tied to our constructs. Supposed to is like a proverbial dog that gnaws at my leg everyday because there is no food, and he is hungry. It’s an internal creation made for me, by me, to protect me. It is a reminder of the things I expected and how I imagined things should be. And no matter how much we might want change or know we need it, we usually don’t expect or appreciate change, even when things can be better.

When things change, there is always a moment of despair, a grieving of what used to be. That’s the hard part, the part that sucks. There is a moment when we can’t see beyond the supposed to. But change means to go through transition to uncover other great things, things that can be better. In order to find them, these opportunities, those things that can be better, we should not should ourselves with supposed to’s.

I was once told that we can construct a castle just as easily as we can construct a button. I am not exactly sure the procedure is the same. But I get it. We are builders, creators of the lives we want to live, the summers we want to have, even during COVID19. This summer has offered us that. We would not know this so vividly otherwise.

Soften Your Gaze

Richard Rudd, the author of The Gene Keys, wrote an article worth reading called To See Life with Soft Eyes. Softening our gaze is more than just a task for your literal eyes. In yoga, your drishti, or focal point, is both internal and external. It is both what you see, and what you think, and how you specifically perceive the world. Finding a drishti is a chance to see the connection between what you think and what you manifest in your world.

If you found the greatness of this summer, it is not because of all the things you did, or the places that you traveled to necessarily, but rather the journey to and through your ability to perceive, create, and have it. There is a joy in creation, a satisfaction when we see our thoughts become things. Having this time during the summer to be still, to see what really matters, and to do the things we dream (even if just in our own backyards) could and can still be for another couple weeks if the school system is getting ready to change things for you, a time of joyful creation. What can you dream up for yourself?

If we can soften our gaze, we release the expectation that things should be a certain way. We release our resistance. This requires an acceptance of what we can do and life’s possibilities. If we see with a soft gaze, what we see will also be soft. Likewise, when we see joy in our moments, new doors, and paths to joy, open. We find a new way to ultimately be in joy regardless of the circumstances. This summer has offered us a new way of seeing what’s great about being alive.

It is said: the only reason we struggle is because we think we should have something that we do not. Supposing and shoulding (S²) is a habit. Remember, we started doing this S² formula to protect ourselves. When changing a habit, many psychologists suggest habit replacement looping, that of replacing the undesired habit with something more desirable. In yoga, we say, one must do a kriya, a set of exercises linked with the breath, for 40 days to create lasting change.

Contemplating this summer means we can return anew to gratitude for what is and to a softening around the shoulds and supposed to experiences. Joyfulness is not so much found in where I can go by plane, boat, or car, but even more now about how far I can go to the place where thoughts become things. If you did not have that understanding before, that’s big! This summer gave us that! See what I mean—This summer has offered us LOTS!

Enjoy the rest of your joy-filled summer. Create something beautiful as ever, or even better.

About Courtney Rohan

A 200-hour certified teacher in the Yoga of Energy Flow, Courtney has been teaching yoga for 14 years. After completing her undergraduate work at Rutgers in English and Psychology, Courtney obtained a graduate degree in Education at Arcadia University and began teaching English in the public school system in Philadelphia while studying to become a certified Yoga and Thai Massage instructor. In addition to teaching Yoga, Courtney is a writer and freelance editor and has worked on a diverse range of material from manuscripts to children’s books and essays. As an Intuitive Coach and lifelong educator, Courtney works to commandeer possible approaches to support creation, manifestation, and healing while leading her students toward enlightenment.

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Courtney Rohan