When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer's good for the soul

Filled with the fresh excitement of a newly-ended school year and a long holiday weekend, people all around me have been busy the last few days, visiting parks and beaches and pools and friends, and packing in as much fun as a three-day holiday can hold. I've taken a different approach, mostly out of necessity, and have spent the weekend close to home, still enjoying my family and friends and good food and beautiful weather, but in a quiet, restful sort of way. It turns out that slowing down was exactly what I needed.

The past couple of months have been a frenzy of activity and obligations, of thinking and worrying, of running here and there and keeping track of enough things to make one's head explode, a pace of life that doesn't ever turn out well for me. I tend to keep all of my stress inside, running a very smooth ship by all outward appearances, while within, a storm begins to brew. Eventually, when the cloud inevitably bursts with excessive pressure, the result is a few good hours of crying, or a physical illness of some kind; in the past few weeks, I've experienced both. Being forced literally to a stop by stomach trouble and painful inflammation in my joints, I've had to realize that my own health isn't something to put on a hidden shelf out of the way when I don't have time to consider it. I think everyone needs a little peace and quiet sometimes in order to be well and happy.

I have spent the first long weekend of the summer relaxing in the warm sunshine, listening to my boys laughing and splashing in the pool, reading with them, and catching up with visiting family members who are also dear friends. I've enjoyed easy and healthy summer meals outdoors, listened to the sounds of the birds chirping in the trees in our backyard, and have taken some time to really think about the many wonderful, yet simple things I have to be happy about, things that get buried from my consciousness when life seems full of more troublesome things to consider. Today I realized I am feeling better than I have in weeks. I've noticed how tense my shoulders must have been lately because they suddenly feel fifty pounds lighter; my stomach isn't hurting so much, and I actually feel like I can breathe deeply. It's amazing how a few quiet days spent without a to-do list can have a significant positive effect on a person's well-being.

I'm looking forward to days filled with fun summer activities over the next while, to trips and plans with friends, and to making the most out of the short, hot season while it lasts. This weekend has made me also remember, though, that sometimes doing nothing much at all is darn good medicine. Over the summer, I plan to take a healthy dose of this simple yet sometimes hard to come by remedy. I'm certain my mind and my body will be glad for it.

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