Slow Down, Summer!

Lazy summer days

Here’s how summer usually goes.

“Oh, the phlox are in bloom! Summer, finally! Yay.”

Next comes a flurry of manic activity:

Clean the garage.

Mow the grass.

Have a yard sale? Yes? No?

Have visitors.

Go visiting.

Go to Farmer’s Market.

Plant stuff.

Eat outside.

Beer.

Wine.

4th of July.

Then suddenly…drums. And trumpets. The marching band is back and practicing up on the hill.

The sumacs are burgundy already. Asters, vervain and goldenrod are blooming in the roadside ditches.

What happened to the daisies? And the cornflowers? Did I miss them? (I totally missed them.)

Where was I? What happened? Where did summer go? How the hell is it Labor Day already?

Every year, this same nausea. Every year summer flies and I hardly see it. So this year, 3 weeks ago, to be exact, I sat down and drew up a 3-Pronged Strategy for Slowing Down Summer. I do not ever want to get to Labor Day again and feel that autumn nausea.

Because summer doesn’t have to fly. It really doesn’t. Summers didn’t always fly. I remember childhood summers that were almost too long. And even as an adult I remember draggy hot days spent arranging lettuce leaves on platters, watching bird life, and listening to gravel crunch under my sneakers, waiting for the inexorable day to end.

And it’s not like I don’t I know how to slow down time. I do.Sit on a meditation cushion and set a timer for 20 minutes. That’ll do it. And, on the flip side? To vaporize time? Jump on the computer “just for a sec to check FB and email.” There you go. 2 hours. Poof. Vanished.

When I notice everything as it happens?  Time slows down. Live like a mindless robot? Miss the daisies.

So this year I needed a strategy. I couldn’t just tell myself, “I’m going to notice things as they happen this year.” That doesn’t work for me. I’m weak.  I slip into old patterns and habits too easily.

So, after a lot of thought, here’s the plan:

  1. Mindful Mondays
  2. Read fiction
  3. Take a photo a day.

Let me explain.

Mindful Mondays start Sunday night when I stop eating at 8PM and don’t eat again until 2 PM Monday except for a cup of Bulletproof coffee. Nothing slows down time quite as effectively as being hungry when there’s still 3 more hours before food time. On Mondays I also double my meditation time from 20 to 40 minutes and severely limit screen time to 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour at night and no screens while eating.

Read Fiction. I am a non-fiction reader by choice and inclination. However, this summer I am reading novels exclusively because novels take me out of time. It’s not just that they slow it down, novels remove me from time entirely. Reading a novel in a hammock seems to give the ultimate middle finger to time.

Take a Photo a Day. To take a photo is to pay attention to something. I have to stop, get still, breathe, and really look at something. I’m not that concerned with the artistic quality of the picture. What’s important is the moment of stopping and paying attention. I’m using the Photo 365 app on my iphone to keep track of my daily photo.

And that’s it.

I’m 3 weeks in and I think it’s working.  I plan to post here every Wednesday for the rest of the summer  and report on how this is all playing out in my life. Follow this blog to get my weekly updates via email.

What do you think? Do you have a strategy for slowing down time? I am really interested in this topic if you care to share.