Summer brings back memories of childhood — times when the days were long and warm, the pace slower, and the world simpler. The structure and responsibility of school, homework, and extracurricular activities was temporarily replaced by the joy of chasing fireflies barefoot in the backyard, soaking in the sun at the neighborhood lake, and lying mesmerized on a blanket, counting shooting stars at midnight.
No, I didn’t have a picture perfect childhood by any means, but in those moments, regardless of family dynamics, I was in tune with the life force and I could feel my connection with everything. It was magic.
Periodically though, amidst the magnificence that is a childhood summer, something happened.
I got bored.
That restless, discontent, grumpy feeling arose from somewhere inside, and I would begin to pick fights with my siblings or friends, or complain to my parents, as if they were responsible. Suddenly the magic had evaporated.
As summer is in full swing here in Virginia, I have been reflecting on this year and how it mirrors my childhood. In the winter and early spring, I was quite busy with obligations, deadlines, responsibilities, and projects. Actually, I was more than busy — I was overwhelmed.
Eventually that gave way to a more relaxed schedule, and I managed to catch up on all the things that had been sitting on the back burner for several months. I found time to rededicate to my meditation practice, read some good books, and hang out and laugh with friends. I found myself resting in the Oneness of Life once again.
I was really enjoying that slower pace. And then the boredom set in.
~ Life should be more exciting.
~ I’m not doing enough.
~ What project should I take on next?
~ What character defect should I work on transforming?
~ I must do something immediately to make this restless, grumpy, discontent feeling go away!
These are the thoughts that filled my mind.
Fortunately, I caught myself. I was able to stop, acknowledge the feeling, and just breathe with it. Not do anything to change it. Just notice it and hold it in compassion. And get curious about what lay underneath.
In childhood, when no one fixed my boredom for me, eventually something else would spontaneously arise from within. Some innate creativity, some ingenious plan or inspired idea would arise and reignite by passion all over again. No one had to tell me what to do, or give me things to accomplish. After a period of sitting in my funk, the boredom gave birth to a new wave of enthusiasm, a new chapter of summer.
I reconnected to my awareness of the Life Force that moves through everything, and let it lead the way.
And so it is today. When discontent, boredom, and restlessness arise in my life, rather than pushing it away, I can recognize it as the birthing ground for something new. Like the pause between the in-breath and the out-breath, emptiness is a natural and productive part of the rhythm of life. If I judge it as boring, I will be likely to fill it with tasks, projects and responsibilities that distract from the uncomfortable feelings and suffocate the creation that wants to arise.
If I sit with the restlessness, ride the wave of the not yet manifest, it will come. It always does. I can trust that. In spite of all the shortcomings of childhood, summer did teach me to trust what can feel like emptiness.
This summer, allow yourself to slow down. Relax. Unwind. And if boredom and emptiness arise, slow down even more. Ride that wave. Become receptive to that part of you that is intimately connected with everything that exists. It’s magic!
Do you remember the childhood experience of moving from boredom to creativity? How does that show up for you today?
“As a result of a process that has continued for centuries, humanity has conditioned itself to make the outer mind a very busy place, so that when that busyness ceases temporarily, the resulting quiet is confused with emptiness. It indeed seems empty. The noise will recede, and you must indeed embrace and welcome the emptiness as the most important channel through which to receive your innermost Godself.” ~Pathwork Lecture 224
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