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Make the Feeling of Summer Vacation Last all Year

Every season has a different character, feeling, touch, smell, vista and flavor. 

In summer,  sweet fresh fruits and veggies, barbequed delicacies, cold lemonade, iced teas, plentiful sorbets and frozen yogurts seduce our pallet.  The long days, elegant sunsets, sandy beaches and warm evening breezes seem to last forever, punctuated with the zenith of summer, the Solstice.  We have longed for summer during the cold wet winter months, and now, we are finally here.

Depending on what stage of life you are in, summer vacation takes on its own story. 

Children are enjoying a reprieve from school and early rising, as well as heading for camps of all kinds.  Teens are on journies that take them all over the world. Young adults are graduating from high school, college, and celebrating summer weddings.  Seniors and retirees often celebrtate this precious time with their grandchildren who live out of the area.  Busy parents look to create some relief from the hustle of the school year, just completed. Often, we don’t get what we need from our vacations because we are so starved for down time. It is hard to slow down and transition.  We are desperately trying to “get it all” in.  Meanwhile, due to modern communication technology, there is constant overflow into our vacation from our everyday working life.

The etymolgy of the word “vacation” suggests freedom, a refraining from ordinary tasks and responsibilities.  By this definition, we need not only restrict our “vacation” moments to those few times in the year.  We can call all of those in-between moments that pop up every day “vacation”. Whether or not we have “used up our vacation”, or are self-employed and “don’t have a vacation”, the discipline of creating boundaries between your “leisure time” and “work time” can facilitate mini-vacations, which can be a frequent source of relief.

In some places in the world, vacations are  referred to as “holidays”, times to be relaxed and  away from work and normal routine.  The holiday emobdies the word “holy”, which can mean sacred, or blessed, or by more current understanding, spiritual.  The idea of a sacred and blessed time to be relaxed and away from work sounds perfect  to me!

Summer vacation, if mindfully approached and planned, can provide a unique and priceless opportunity for transformation.

Instead of adding more stress to our already-inundated lives, we can use our vacations as a chance to slow down, pause and reflect.  We can practice a departure from work and routine that can refresh us and send us home with new strategies and boudaries for balance of work and leisure time.  These simple tools can really help us take on the world again when our vacation is over. 

  • For starters, we can choose a vacation that allows for a variety of special moments, including adventure, down time and renewal.
  • Make sure your vacation includes some kind of physical or symbolic getaway, in which we consciously let go of the issues and stressors left behind.
  • We can leave clear “away” messages on our phones,  refrain from checking email, Facebook, and the news, and be fully in the moment with family and friends.
  • It is helpful to have a free day  before and after the vacation, to give us some space to exhale. 
  • We can  also create an intention to let go of something old and stale, enjoy the empty space it leaves, and let something else fantastic find its way into our life.

Moments of pause and rest are  free of charge and the space for them comes up often every day.  Our “alone time” and time shared with family friends are mini-vacations “in the moment” that can help to get us through our days in high spirits.  These “mini-vacations” require mindful intention and determination.

May your summer days be filled with many moments of happiness and joy and   your summer vacation be a model and a practice for the in between, everyday moments of pause.   May that intention carry you the entire year.

Rick Concoff, M.A. c 2012


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