Be Like a Child

The summer is finally here, and it is the perfect time for us to break from our usual routines and enjoy our lives more fully. It’s important for us to plan some downtime where we can rest and recharge — even if it’s only for a short while. This summer, I’m planning to do exactly that. I’m taking a break from both my blog and my circling events in order to go within and renew my spirit. I know from past experience that when I take this much-needed downtime, it enables me to feel refreshed and re-energized when I return to my activities. That’s why downtime is so important. It helps us not only recharge, but it also helps us see things in a whole new light. So, I invite everyone to experiment with some downtime this summer. On sunny afternoons, take walks on the beach, read good books, or hike in the woods. Break free from your usual routines and have some fun. I know we all have responsibilities, but we can’t let them weigh us down. We have to learn to let go and laugh more — to be more like children, carefree and spontaneous.

Children know how to have fun. They run around the backyard with reckless abandon playing tag with their friends, they laugh hysterically if someone tells a funny joke, and they swing on the swings as high as possible in hopes that they might touch the sky. Staying in the moment, they don’t worry about whether their rooms are clean or whether they have homework to do. They love their downtime where having fun is their top priority, and that’s the way they want it to stay.

So, what happens to that enthusiasm and excitement for life as we get older? Where does our desire to have fun go? And how do we lose it so easily? In a word: responsibility. Once we become adults, most of us take our responsibilities very seriously. We know we have to work hard and provide for ourselves as well as for our families. We want to live the American dream, and that often involves making sacrifices along the way. Many of us work long hours, raise our children, mow our yards, cook our meals, clean our houses - and that’s only a fraction of our responsibilities. Expecting a lot of ourselves, we don’t often have much free time. So, we put our heads down and charge forward — putting one foot in front of the other, leaving little room for fun.

This summer, what if we switch things up a bit? What if we actually act like children and prioritize having fun? This can make a big difference in our lives. When we spend time with our family and friends doing the things we love like watching movies, playing board games, or even rock climbing, it can bring us great joy. We are able to laugh and let go, seeing the value of staying in the moment. Life doesn’t have to be such a struggle where we are bogged down with responsibilities all the time. Sometimes it’s just about finding joy in the little things. We need to grab every moment and live life fully — embracing fun and making it a priority in our lives. When we do that, we might be amazed at how much happier our lives become.

So this week and this summer, become like a child again and find some downtime. Look at the world with new eyes and see if you can make having fun a priority. Take a day off of work and do something you love: ride on a roller coaster and throw your hands up in the air as often as you can, go out to your garden and pick your favorite flowers to make a lovely bouquet, or paint a picture with finger paints getting your hands as messy as you can. Stay in the moment and have fun. You have responsibilities, but don’t let them take over every aspect of your life. Spend some downtime renewing your spirit. Laugh out loud and see how much better you feel when you let loose and have a good time. Call a friend and go to a concert or grab your partner and kids and make s’mores in the backyard while gazing up at the stars. Live your life as fully as you can — just like children do.

See Your World in a Whole New Light

As the school year comes to a close, I am reminded how the endings of our lives are also new beginnings. My son is finishing his 5th grade year and will be going off to middle school in the fall. He is thrilled to be moving to a new school and is fully embracing this exciting time in his life. But as his mom, a part of me is sad that he is growing up so fast. Because he is graduating from elementary school, it somehow feels like I’m saying good-bye to his childhood. Yet, this ending is also an incredible new beginning - one where he will discover many things about himself and continue to grow into the amazing man he will become. Watching his eager anticipation of this important transition in his life, I know he is ready, and that makes me very happy indeed.

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Our lives are filled with uncertainties. That’s part of what makes them both interesting and challenging. Right now, our family is living proof of that. Currently, we are searching for a new home. It has been quite a process, and there have been several unexpected developments along the way, but we are trusting that all will work out in the end exactly as it is supposed to. But trusting is not always easy, especially when it involves the important things in our lives. That’s why it’s helpful to remember that we cannot prevent uncertainties and changes from happening to us. So, the ways we choose to respond to these uncertainties becomes very important. If we can trust in the process and learn to “go with the flow,” our lives become much less stressful.  

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Expectations, Expectations, Expectations . . .

As I think about my relationships with myself and those around me, I realize these relationships are influenced by many things. But one of the biggest influencers of these relationships is my own expectations as well as the expectations of others. Expectations are our beliefs about what might happen in the future. We use expectations because they help make our lives more predictable. We learn from our past experiences and then create expectations to help us predict how things will turn out. We expect things such as the sun setting every evening or our parents visiting every Thanksgiving. Expectations are present in every aspect of our lives, but the challenge comes when we try to fit our lives into our current expectations when perhaps there’s another way – a better way. This is especially true in regard to things that are out of our control.  

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Creative Seeds

With the vernal equinox right around the corner, many of us are anxious for the warmer days of spring. This is particularly true for those of us who just experienced the big winter snowstorm in the Northeast. We are ready to trade in the icy snow for some fresh green grass. 

What is it about spring that makes many of us yearn for this season to begin?  Spring ushers in a time of new beginnings, fertile soil, and tremendous growth. It is a time of great excitement and possibility. As the daylight returns, so does our hope for new beginnings in our lives.

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