Summer Play

Summer sprinkler

Summer. When I think of this season, words like freedom, play, and adventure emerge in my mind. Vivid memories crop up too – of long afternoons at the beach, enveloped by a sound score of crashing waves, giggles, and screams; of countless scoops of ice cream melting in my mouth, so satisfying especially on the hottest of days; of grass squishing underfoot as I run through sprinklers in my backyard…there’s something so timeless about summer’s long days and warm nights. Most of my oldest memories exist in the summer months of my childhood. I still largely operate on a school-year schedule, so when summer rolls around I inevitably look for opportunities to play, to mix up my daily routine in an effort to recharge and revel in summer’s fun.

Our yoga community at The Perri Institute for Mind and Body is drawing playfulness into our class offerings all summer long. Spies and mysteries abound, and cheaper classes, as well as pop-up classes across the city in unexpected sites, are keeping our students on their toes.

And why not shift our typical patterns during the summer months? Ever since college, I have endeavored to travel and reenergize my studies over the course of the summer. The ways I’ve met such intentions were sometimes more extensive – traveling to and through Europe to engage in various dance workshops, meeting artists with shared interests yet completely different backgrounds and modes of living and art-making. Other times such goals have been met more simply – attempting to learn a few words of German or a few chords on a guitar (even if it all was forgotten soon after). Regardless of the mode of play, I find such beauty in the way that free time and fresh experiences can infuse us with newfound enthusiasm and simultaneously inform us with hindsight. Have you ever been away from home, even for a weekend, and suddenly sensed this clarity arising in your mind or heart regarding something that has been milling about within you for weeks or even months? When it feels as if your intuition has been ignited and that answer you have been desperately trying to grab hold of falls into your lap in a most organic and unexpected way?

While this summer has brought relief to me after an exhausting year, certain situations and outcomes have reminded me, or perhaps encouraged me to use my free time not to grasp for answers that tell of my future but instead, to use what freedom I have to explore and reconnect, so that I can meet what unfolds rather than force what I think I want into being. My boyfriend introduced me to a catchy tune recently that speaks to the journey of discovery at its close. The last minute and a half of Jason Mraz’s “Song For A Friend” swells from a quieter instrumental interlude to a full, vigorous choral setting that repeats, over and over:

Climb up over the top.

Survey the state of the soul.

You’ve got to find out for yourself whether or not you’re truly trying.

Why not give it a shot?

Shake it. Take control and inevitably wind up

Find out for yourself all the strengths you have inside of you.

As I read those lines and listen to them set to music, I’m reminded that each of us bears the responsibility of surveying the state of our soul as the days and years pass by if we are to delve deeper and deeper into the essence of who we are and what we can be for the world around us. The ways that we examine and shake matters up will inevitably differ, as each of us operates on inimitable wavelengths, but no matter what our mode, we ultimately guide our growth. For me, traveling and delving into learning spark an evaluation of where I have been and where I am living presently; assessments like these often can instigate a repatterning of habits we’ve developed that no longer serve us. And yet I believe that between our considerations and our actions there lies a subtle interplay on the part of the universe in relation to our circumstances. It’s as if there’s this middleman – the Universe – that emerges after we shake things up and guides us back to the path of control and routine with a touch or punch of intuition, depending on how he presents himself. We do initiate growth on behalf of ourselves, but at the same time, I can’t help but give credit to the mysterious, spy ways of the Universe that move me down surprising paths when I remain open enough to see, listen, and feel its advice.

If you were to consider your parking spot on the road of your life right now, what are those matters that seem like they could use some shaking up? How will you find or create space to climb to the top of your life’s mountain to survey your body, mind, spirit, and surroundings?

As the heat bears down on us and the smell of barbecues permeates the air, let us toast to summer’s offering of play. Through diversion may we gain even more of an understanding as to where we are and a stronger intuition as to where we must go and what we must do from here.

– Liz Beres

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