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There are two ways to go about it: we can change things about our surroundings to help us relax or we can relax and center, and then delve into our surroundings. The second way can feel less intuitive but it’s the most sustaining. And I’m rediscovering that it’s a habit.

I recently took a break from social media and at first it was really, really uncomfortable. But I’m finding I have way more time to do the things I want to do like write. Like create a play area for my toddler. Like cook more, listen to more music. Center first, then act.

My lesson from the past few weeks is: meet calamity with serenity. The chaos will always be there and I can just let it be, let it spin around me, I don’t need to engage. I just need to do the things that make me feel inspired and whole.

One of the things that gets me there quickly is being in nature. And in particular, being near water. I really do think that we are hard-wired to find relaxation in nature: the smell of a forest, the sound of lapping waves against a boat hull, the deep greens and golds and oranges of trees, the smell of rain. Just reading these words and imagining these things, don’t you feel a little calmer?

As we wind down summer and enter my favorite season, my hope for us all is that we can center first, then act. Relaxation is a choice. 

- Mary

Tags: Inspiration. nature. relaxation. summer's over.

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