Nurture with Nature: Summer Flourish!
The inaugural Nurture with Nature: Spring Abundance was a verified hit, and an amazing experience to share with the women who attended. Thank you to all who came and gave their time – in order that they might be nourished themselves!
This time around we explored the fabulous energy and lessons occurring in Nature around the season of Summer (and especially the Solstice). At this time of year, we are witnessing the expansion of light and longer daytime hours, we are celebrating the fullness and abundance of life, and there is warmth which encourages us to get out of our homes and into nature. Many ancient sites have been created to mark this transition and time of year, since living in harmony with nature means to recognize that eternal cycle by which we are all effected. So, we gathered to celebrate everything this season represented and how engaging with these lessons enriches our own lives.
To keep this intro brief and get to the good stuff, I promise not to drag it out with any more. Without further ado (it seems I really enjoy this phrase since I know for a fact I used it in my last blog, but almost never say in real life….), here are some of the bigger lessons we began with at the launch of the last Nurture with Nature: Spring Flourish (held on the Summer Solstice, June 21st, 2019).
Lessons of Nature in Summer (& Solstice)
1. Honor Your Inner Fire
The element of Summer is undoubtedly fire! Especially at the Summer Solstice, the sun is in its greatest glory. Its influential fire will sustain and grow our gardens and crops over the entire season. We cannot reap a harvest later in the year without this mighty force. In summer we are reminded that our sun is essential and sacred to the cycles of our earth. Yet, just like earth’s blazing sun, we each have our own inner fire. This is the fire that feeds and sustains our hopes & dreams. Our inner fire is that effectual, commanding part of ourselves that accomplishes the necessary and hard work of realizing our goals. In the same way that crops would wane without the sun (think of the Greek mythological figure of Persephone going underground each winter), our life force would withdraw and peter out without our inner fire. Acknowledge & celebrate this fabulous power; the fierce, unabashed part of our spirit which resides within us, that gives voice to our wants and needs and puts obtaining those things into action. Take some time to recognize this aspect and take inventory of the important things it does for us. Above all, have gratitude for this light. Fan its flames if it needs encouragement, and temper its heat if it needs to dial back in certain areas of your life.
2. Recognize & Celebrate the Divine Masculine Within!
We all have elements of both the (divine) masculine and the feminine that reside within us. One doesn’t rule completely, nor should it. Both are important and required. As women, we often forget the masculine energy that resides within us (and vice versa). It’s definitely not something we’re encouraged or reminded to connect with, or even made aware of from an educational standpoint. Our culture chiefly equates masculinity with hostility and anger, but this is a misguided notion and only represents the divine masculine when it is out of balance. We need to acknowledge a healthy expression of the divine masculine that resides within each of us. We need to openly embrace that part of ourselves and be grateful for the ways it empowers us – it is essential to the first lesson we learned: our inner fire! In it’s broadest strokes, masculine energy is expansive and active energy. It’s passionate and it is always flowing outward. It’s not unlike the summer sun that is shining so brilliantly during this season. Our inner divine masculine aspect is creative, assertive, self-possessed and self-assured, unafraid to be bold and in charge. There is no coincidence that we celebrate Father’s Day near the Summer Solstice. The Solstice is a celebration of the powerful, dynamic, macrocosmic Sun that supports and represents our inner, microcosmic sun - our need to be fully engaged and alive in ourselves, fully embracing our authentic selves, and fully invested in actualizing our desires.
3. Be a Diligent Gardener
Many find that the most pleasant way to engage with Mother Nature is though creating and maintaining their own garden. This is a beautiful way for us to have a tactile relationship with that which needs a gentle, nurturing hand. These skills and lessons can be applied to that which we seek to grown in our own lives, too. A good place to start is to step back and make yourself aware of how this season’s energy presents itself both in your external environment and within yourself. Insofar as summer is concerned, observe what new elements of your life are taking shape and which fit into your goals and desires – these seeds will become the seedlings that you nurture into maturity. Give extra time, care, compassion, and attention to these elements in your life. Pay attention to the weeds – that which is no longer serving you, that which you continually give your energy to with no reciprocal relationship. Tear out dysfunction by the root. Prune and water what gives you joy, purpose, and empowerment. Nurture your natural gifts and talents in order to be a light for someone else. Taking inventory of your life’s garden in this way will help you focus, organize and give more time to the big picture items in your life.
4. Finding Balance
During Summer, we fill our calendars with ample opportunity for doing (vacation, travel, adventure!). Historically, it was a time of working longer hours in the fields due to increased daylight. Last I checked, not many of us are out toiling in the fields these days. But still, our summers are crammed with plans, projects, activity, and excitement. Most of these are things we look forward to with anticipation. However, this is still a form of busyness. We have a lot of plates we are trying to spin. Check in with yourself – how many of your weekends have been penciled in with activities, plans, and get-togethers? Summer is a time of so much action (very “masculine” or “yang” attributes), that we need not forget the other promise that summer offers: rest, lazy beach days, enjoying your favorite drink “on the rocks”, relishing our creature comforts, and the peaceful solitude that we yearn for during the long hours of the work week. The candle cannot be burned at both ends; we cannot work hard, then play hard as a way to offset our duties. We have to spend time filling our own cup back up with opportunities for self-care, lest we run ourselves into the ground and catch the dreaded summer cold! It’s so important that we strike a balance between these intense intervals of “doing” with equally restful “being”. Kick back and relax. In fact, schedule in “me time” devoted to your favorite quiet activities (reading, yoga, adult coloring books!) just as you would your vacation plans. Soak in the rich deliciousness of the summer sun. Be both alive and at peace, honor both sides of the spectrum; live into the duality that this season offers.
5. Patience & Trust
Patience and trust: the virtues of summer. The vegetable, fruit, and legume will ripen only when it is precisely ready. This is not a process which can be rushed nor controlled (with the exception of proper nourishment, and even this only ensures a beautiful harvest rather than a speedy one). We have to relinquish ourselves to patience. We must trust that the hard work has been put in, and know that it will bear it’s reward at its exact right moment. The same is true for the rewards we reap in our lives. We have to practice a loving patience with ourselves. We need to create space for trusting and allowing any soul work we’ve engaged in to take root and bloom, especially the spiritual seeds we planted in the Spring during our previous meditation night. Have confidence in yourself and trust that you’ve already planted the seeds - let life continue to unfold in its perfect pace. Once the foundation of trust is established, we must give way to patience. The fruit of those seeds (your ideas & intentions) will ripen when they’re ready, and no sooner. If anyone has brought an avocado home from the store, waited anxiously for it to ripen on the counter, and in their haste cut into it too soon, you’ll know what I mean by patience being a virtue: don’t rush through your life only to have the best parts be spoiled like the spongy, tasteless interior of the unripe avocado.
6. Letting Go
The Summer Solstice marks the pinnacle of daylight hours. The sun has reached its peak and its cycle of expansion is complete. Now begins the slow shortening of daylight hours as we eek toward the next Solstice, when light will return once again. It feels a bit odd that even though the Solstice marks the official beginning of summer, it’s really the beginning of the long goodbye (of long sunlit days). But this, too, is part of the sacred cycle of birth, growth, maturity, and dormancy/death. The promise of renewal, change, and life-expansion is energizing and fills us with hope, but it can also be sad knowing that we must eventually let go once things have reached the end of their cycle. There is a grieving involved in letting go of relationships, jobs, the familiar for the new, and so forth once they’ve reached their peak and served their purpose. But, there is a sacredness to honoring each phase of our lives as they unfold. Each stage is no more important than the one that came before it. We can find grace in the act of letting go. Don’t get me wrong - change can be terrifying, but also exciting! Growth will always change us for the better if we allow it to. It is in the attachment to life’s pleasures that we actually find suffering. Being “in the flow” of your life, just as Mother Nature effortlessly flows in and out of her cyclical seasons, is the surest way to find lasting peace.
“Summer Flourish” Activity - Mandala
Some of the dominant forces at play during summer are creation and transformation. The seed created the seedling, and through the many weeks of rain and sun will transform into a beautiful expression of nature which colors and decorates the world around us. To highlight this gorgeous process, I decided to have some fun with creating flower mandalas. Mandalas can be found through many cultures as a spiritual symbol and can be used for many different endeavors as a meditative tool. It is an invitation to create and helps us tap into our own creative energy. Mandalas are often constructed in circular shapes, another way we can remember the cyclical nature of our world.
When made from natural elements (such as flower petals, stems, and leaves), they can act as a hands-on lesson for both creativity and transformation: What once came from the ground can be reconstructed as a beautiful tribute to Mother Earth. This helps us to see the beauty of our own natural blooms – we can transform our talents by pruning them, allowing them to blossom, and gifting them to the friends, family, and community around us. They are the unique aspects of our spirit made manifest, a vehicle for finding and enhancing our authentic self.
We gathered everyone at a shared table and engaged in the spirit of creativity & transformation! We drank Sun Tea (which I had brewed all afternoon leading up to our event – another wonderful way to celebrate the sun this season) and had a ball celebrating together. Here are some of the mandalas which were created, both in individual and combined efforts! Click through the slideshow to see them all. Even though some of the photos could have been higher quality, I could not have been more pleased with the personal touches that went into our activity.
Once the mandalas were made to our satisfaction, we embraced the lesson of Letting Go and gathered up the table cloth as a group. Each one of us holding up the cloth, careful not to spill anything, we brought it outside into the middle of our lawn, saturated in the warm and inviting sunset light. Here, I recited an intention/prayer to mark the ritual of honoring this season in ourselves and in nature:
“With open arms we embrace warmth & light, may the beauty of summer fully shine tonight. With transformation & joy abound, our lives take root on solid ground. On this midsummer eve, as the sun dips low, we welcome transition, of which the soul knows. We release all ego to the sky above, we are vessels now for infinite love.”
It was after this that we all grabbed a handful of table cloth, stepped back, and released the petals into the air like confetti. What a stunning, gratifying 5 seconds!
“Summer Flourish” Guided Meditation
The evening was concluded with a guided meditation interspersed with my channeling Reiki to each participant through their Crown and Solar Plexus Chakras. I chose these specific chakras to allow divine light into the body for optimal relaxation and healing (Crown), and to engage the “action” oriented aspect of our divine masculinity (Solar Plexus) to better align us with Yang-dominant energy of summer.
I began with a tension-relieving guided meditation which allowed all participants to focus on each part of the body (feet to head) and allow tension, pain, and discomfort to melt away into the earth to be recycled and renewed. After we were sufficiently relaxed, the following script was used to round out the healing experience and enhance the meditation with some truly beautiful reminders about summer:
(This was adapted heavily from Karen Clark of Sivana East and I highly encourage you to do a self-meditation using these three lessons, as they are wonderfully empowering and uplifting.)
“This meditation is meant to bring our attention to three major focuses around the summer season, each beneficial to allowing our healthiest relationship with ourselves and our world.
Focus #1. Abundance is real.
In the sun-bright days of Summer, abundance isn’t an illusion or utopian ideal. It’s real and alive, in the raw elements of sun, earth, rain, soil and seed. Through the wondrous miracle of life, we produce that which feeds the hungry bellies of this world. Nature’s abundance expresses itself in an ethos of generosity, of giving more rather than less, and taking only what is needed. Imagine living in harmony with Nature’s ethos of generosity as a guiding force in your life, and making it real through the raw elements of your grace, goodness and generosity - by giving more of yourself rather than less, and only taking what you truly need by walking lightly on this Earth.
Focus #2. Life is good.
The powers of life are at a peak it the Summer, and the good things of the living world are on full display. The sun is hot. The sky is clear blue. Wild things are plump, healthy and busy tending their young. Ripe fruits weigh down branches. Flowers paint the landscape in bright colors and vibrant greens. Strawberries are soft and sweet. Life is very, very good. Imagine slowing down and taking in Summer’s goodness, giving yourself over to awe and delight, and relaxing into the loving, delicious embrace of life’s goodness. Imagine living and sharing this same goodness inside of you by gifting others with your best qualities and nature.
Focus #3. All life is beautiful and worthy.
Wild things don’t have self-worth or identity issues. A beetle doesn’t stop to measure its beauty and value against a butterfly. It goes about the business of being a beetle, in alignment with its unique beetle purpose and place in the great weaving of life. Be it a beetle or butterfly, dandelion or rose, robin or turkey vulture, no one is more beautiful or worthy than another. The summertime powers of light and life call every living being to blossom, flourish, and play their essential part in the balance and well-being of the whole. Imagine a reality in which every living being is witnessed and honored as beautiful, worthy, precious and essential to the web of life that sustains us all. Imagine honoring and claiming your beauty, gifts and sacred purpose, knowing that you’re truly beautiful and worthy, and that your contributions to life deeply matter.
Abundance is Real, Life is Good, and All Life is Beautiful and Worthy.
*It was at this time that Reiki was given to all participants*
"I want you to envision a New World with me.
We humans are capable of immense horror AND great goodness. We can build a world based on an ethos of scarcity and fear, or abundance, goodness and beauty. WE get to choose, each moment and each challenge, which of these two realities will be our guiding force. Yet, in the end, only a life-centered ethos, love and the very best of our nature can mend our hearts, transform our life and take on the momentous task of creating a new, better world.
Nature shows us what we’ve forgotten. It teaches us that abundance, goodness and beauty are real and ever present. It reminds us that nothing is forever; from the depth of Winter, life always returns to and unfolds into the stunning plenitude of Summer. So too we can emerge from the long winter of our humanity, and a collective ethos of fear and scarcity, to return to a life-centered reality that can embrace and nourish us all.
Envision, now, your hands outstretched in a cupping fashion. In the cup of your hands is held the light of the sun – life-giving and life-sustaining, the very best version of ourselves and our world. Imagine a world infused with Nature’s life-centered reality: where scarcity is met with abundance, fear with truth, horror with goodness, pain with joy, and suffering with compassion, and where there is enough happiness, love, respect, nourishment, resources, beauty and power for everyone and everything. Imagine that there’s a place and purpose in this world for every person and wild being, each beautiful, worthy and precious, and that we each bring our best gifts and qualities to the communal table of humanity to solve the problems we’ve created and build a better world together.
Then shift into this living state of abundance and generosity, of goodness of life, of beautiful worthiness. That light you are holding in your hands is actually a portion of your own inner fire, your own radiant natural state of being. Now stretch out your hands and send this vision, this ball of light, outward into the world. Send it like a prayer into the suffering hearts of our humanity. By sharing this light you are not lessened or weakened. By sharing our light with the world we strengthen the collective consciousness. Separateness is an illusion. We are all one, and when we send love and light into the world, all benefit. Feel yourself bathed in that light, and imagine that light going exactly where it needs to go in order to fully embrace this season of your life.”
After bringing my blissed-out participants back to a gentle, waking state, I had everyone put their hands up to their heart in the universal prayer-posture while I spoke a final blessing:
“Today, I honor the light and fire within. As the wheel of the year turns, so must I. I seek the balance between light and dark. As I look back upon the past from where I came, I see what has held me back, and I release it. I seek the strength of the sun as I go forth into the next half of this year. I am aligned with the Divine Source, prepared to complete the work of my soul’s highest calling.”
If this sounds like something you would enjoy participating in, I encourage you to contact me for future Nurture with Nature event dates! If you don’t live nearby or even in VT, I highly encourage you to adapt this event to your own needs as you witness and usher in the changing of Spring to Summer. There is so much wisdom and beauty to gain by learning what is happening in Mother Nature and in the natural world. There is great healing and guidance at our fingertips if only we pay attention.