7 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy Life
Isn’t it interesting right about now your lifestyle is changing drastically? Life has slowed down; the children are out of school and it’s catch up time at work. Have you ever sat down and pondered why life changes in June and remains changed until September? The summer months of June, July, and August are programmed to be a respite time for us in the US. School is out and with that life changes for everyone, whether you have children or not, it changes. It’s a time of rest and relaxation. During this time of rest and relaxation sometimes our participation in our Church events wanes as well. So what can we do to make the connection between this time of rest and our Spirit?
This is our time of the year to be outside and connect with the natural order of life, the Spirit in the natural world. What exactly can we do to make these connections?
# 1 – Unplug the TV – Next time you’re sitting in front of the TV, slouched in the chair or sofa, your mind blank with the hours of viewing time, turn it off and ask yourself, Is this giving me energy? While there are many rich, valuable and fun shows on TV, the fact remains watching it does nothing for our soul. If you do decide to unplug and you have children make sure you have supplies on hand to encourage creative activities that will change behavior. For more information on the affects of TV on children visit LimiTV.org.
#2 – Swim in Natural Water – I mean water with an earthen bottom, a lake, a bayou, a bay, the Gulf of Mexico, oceans, or the sea. Our lives begin in water, so when we need nurturing and relaxation we go to the beach where we experience a time close to the Soul. Because our bodies are made up of mostly water it is necessary to experience it in all forms. Relaxing in it is just one way of reconnecting with the experience of our creation.
# 3 – Gaze into the Night Sky – Find a clear night, pull out an old quilt or throw and look up at the summer sky. This is a wonderful family event and a way to open meaningful conversations with your children about God and our place in this vast Universe. You can even do some research prior to your outing discovering the uniqueness of the summer sky, visit Summer Stargazing for more information and ideas.
# 4 – Visit a Butterfly Garden – Butterfly gardens are beautiful and calming while the butterflies serve as pollinators of our environment. In Louisiana, we have several gardens with vast educational resources. Just 4.5 hours away we have the Catahoula Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden in Pineville, LA. This is a cooperative project between volunteers and the Forest Service. It’s a great place to relax and watch butterflies, hummingbirds and other song birds.
Closer to home in Grand Isle the butterfly garden is located on Hwy. 1 next door to the Tourist commission office. Make a day of it with picnicking on the beach, visiting the butterfly garden, taking a walk on the Birding Trail nearby, and topping the day with a pontoon boat tour visiting Fort Livingston on Grand Terre, thousands of birds on Queen Bess Pelican Rookery, and dolphin watching in Barataria Bay. For tour information contact calmwater charters.
# 5 – Walk Barefoot – Reconnect with the Earth and the sanctity of this wonderful world where we live by walking on it barefoot. In the book of Exodus God spoke to Moses saying, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground”. The Earth and the Universe represent all of God’s creations and therefore, all is holy. Experience this connection with the Spirit by walking barefoot in the yard or whenever possible. Be careful and take cautions against injury.
# 6 – Sit under a great tree – In Louisiana we have many great trees, old Oaks that have been on this earth for hundreds of years. You may be lucky enough to have one of these old Oaks in your own yard, but if not, look around your town they’re everywhere. Find one and spend the afternoon sitting and imagining the stories the tree could tell.
One of my favorite Oaks is located on Jefferson Island, LA at Rip Van Winkle Gardens. The Cleveland Oak is a majestic Oak where it is said President Grover Cleveland sat during his visit to the Island in the late 1800’s. Oh! The stories that tree could weave.
# 7 – Ponder your “Burn Out” – As you sit on the beach, stargaze, sit under the Oak, or watch the butterflies in the garden take some time to ponder how far you’ve come in life and face the flames burning out in your own life. When we hear “Burn Out” we think of something that needs to be changed. Think about it in terms of it being a part of the natural balance of life, an ending of a period of intense work and an opportunity to begin again. Think about ways you might ritualize this ending and beginning anew of your energy sources.
Above all take time this summer for the 3 R’s – Rest, Relax, and Reflect.