I am writing this blog in my back garden. As I sit here, I can hear the birds singing and the roaring of a summer storm overhead and I am reminded that as in life, in nature there are contrasts of good and bad, scary, yet pleasant things all happening together in unison. Learning to appreciate it all takes practice.
Remembering that although the storm is frightening and you may be soaked by the rain, you know that it will clear the hot, thick air and leave divine smells in its wake and provide the plants and animals with a long overdue drink. Knowing that the experiences in life that cause discomfort are also temporary, they will pass and there will be learning for you to take with you. After the storm, nature gives back to us. A walk in the clean, crisp air after a storm is a favourite feeling, I think it has a peace to it.
Think about some of the difficult things you have been through. Is there something you can take from it? Perhaps something you have learnt to love after or a passing discomfort that has led to greater things?
Summer provides the backdrop to some of my favourite activities. Here are 3 of my top things to do in the sunshine. How do they compare to yours? Why not share yours in the comments and we can learn from each other.
Walking has always enabled me to let go of thoughts that are clouding my head. The rhythm helps me to quieten any negative narrative I have going on and think through situations or matters with clarity. It is an opportunity to immerse myself in my surroundings. And although walking in nature is best for me, it can work just as well walking around the city. Growing up and living in a city I have walked mostly to city sounds but there is always a bird song to be heard if you listen hard enough.
Admittedly walking in the city as a blind women and long cane user takes a lot of concentration. I find myself less able to focus on the noises around me as I need to concentrate on feeling what is around me. That is why I enjoy a walk in the park or countryside with a guide as this gives me the opportunity to let go! I’m lucky to have a guide that I trust. My PA Kath makes it feel like I am walking alone again.
- A visit to the sea
I absolutely love a visit to the seaside. You can’t beat fish and chips followed by an ice cream cone at the beach. Although you do have to listen out for the pesky seagulls who love an ice cream too. One of my favourite places to visit is Cornwall. The beaches there are amazing. I have very fond memories of Pentewan Sands in St Austell. The memories with my sight are etched in my brain so when I visit it feels like I can still see every wave and the curve of the beach. This brings me back to my point about being in the moment. If we submerge ourselves in every bit of the moment it imprints and it remains forever.
I love swimming. The first charity fundraising I completed was when I was 14 and I swam 50 lengths of an Olympic size pool. When I was pregnant with my son, being in water was my happy place and now my son is a water baby, or should I say young man now? It is a past time we enjoy doing together. We swim all year round but somehow in the summer a pool seems to work a lot better. It is the first place we visit on holiday, the closer our room to the pool the better! I love water parks too and have not stop using them since losing my sight. From the excitement of the slides to the relaxing lazy river, I am in my happy place.
Have you ever lain on the water, submerged your ears and closed your eyes? There is something tranquil about it. I think it creates a void space. I feel like I am there but not. A place where you can escape and relax, it is quite meditative. I have been teaching my son if you take a deep breath in it helps you float. In those difficult moments, the ones when you can see or feel them coming, take a deep breath and it will help you float until it passes and you can swim in calmer waters again.
Having simple practices in our lives which create time and space to quieten the mind is so important. It helps us to build the strength we need to face the more difficult times. Humans have a way of talking themselves out of things, justifying why they cannot do something or saying there is no time. Well summer is a time when we can gift ourselves space. The longer days help to justify the trips to the beach or the break from work. Make the most of this time of year, enjoy the sunshine, the vitamin D, the flowers in bloom and the birds singing their cheery songs. Take all the time you need to help you.
Enjoy your summer and please share your summer pass times with me, I would love to hear them. You can comment below or share on socials, twitter and Instagram tagging @blind_but_sound.
Take care, sending love