Summer memories pop up when I look out my living room window at the mountains brown with wetness from the first rain and snow. The mountains that hold my footsteps on the trail. Hold my hard breath among the trees and bushes on its long inclines, my strained muscles on its descents, my soul soaring delight on its high passes. Moving between the 46th and 66th parallel for three months turned the endless light filled summer skies of the Northern hemisphere into laughter in my brain. How long will the effects of those light filled days last?
Every year I welcome the warmth of my home at the end of the summer season. By February I run out of light filled thoughts and turn to the darker side of living, the belly of the beast. In the past I have escaped the beast by traveling to warmer climes in winter, but it feels like cheating. It’s like eating out of season and having “fresh” corn all year long.
Life isn’t complete without the belly of the beast.
I have been listening to people’s recounts of their summer travels, the places they have been, the things they have done. I’m left with the question of how did these experiences affect them, how are they going forward with them? Some are already talking about next trips, planning adventures down the road. Others are re-living what they saw by talking about it to others, by sharing photos. I stare at my photos, digital gifts of places and moments far away in space and time, and I know that these photos, the “whats”, don’t fuel my life, it’s the how that matters.
How do I let my summer (nomad) life fuel my winter home life? I Write about my experiences, it helps me become aware of what it is I did in summer’s moments. Writing, like any creative endeavor, shortens the distance between experience and awareness, like meditating does, like hard walking in the mountains does. Creative writing is my winter hike, my winter travel, my long meditation. During my nomad wanderings of summer my body and soul were active, they were fed a healthy diet of experiences, that healed some accumulated ailments of the year before. I want to turn a winter of writing into a similar experience of healing for mind and body.
I prepared and trained for my past summer experiences. It will take preparation and training to be ready for a solid experience of winter writing. The big 4 of living are again what will prepare me for my winter life.
words, ideas, stories on the page. That isn’t a diet of coffee and sweets, although
chocolate is one of my food groups!
4. A daily schedule to accumulate the writing miles, to reach the arbitrary goal I will set.
Life goals are arbitrary, they are but a direction, a form for living. Do you remember what you felt as you organized, got ready, and eventually lived your summer (travel) goals? Do you recall the sweat, the anxiety, the elation or surprise you felt? Don’t let reaching your goal become an accumulation of photographs of pretty places, taking up space in your life. Use your summer experience to fuel your winter. As Japanese writer and organizer, Marie Kondo says, “if it doesn’t give you joy, throw it away!”.
There is a simple exercise you can do to get to joy and lightness of being. Maybe some of you are doing a check-in for your body on the hour, when you ask yourself, “how’s my body feeling, do I need to move, stand, stretch?” (I’m actually dancing to the music, while standing here at my writing desk). Now ask yourself, am I deriving joy from this activity I’m engaged in? If the answer is NO, stop, re-evaluate, change how you’re doing what you’re doing. You don’t need to travel to exotic places to collect joy. It’s the how you do the ‘whats’ that will get you to the joy of the experience.
I will run out of summer laughter in my brain, but I’m already acquiring new fuel as I dance through the miles of writing.
Please interact! Your comments are welcome.