Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Solstice 2014

As I awoke this morning, I thought to myself, "Today is going to be a long day!" ;)

And then I started thinking about past generations who watched the patterns of the sky and learned to judge time without a watch, but instead by the position of the sun at different points during the year.

And then, I started realizing, that our generation, is largely disconnected from this type of observation. I marvel at the fact that there are entire civilizations who arranged the structures of their buildings and their cities to orient toward the rhythms of the sun in the sky, and while I don't want to find fault with the fact that we don't tend to be tuned in to these rhythms, I wonder how different our lives might be if we were tuned in.

Even as I'm writing these words, I'm writing them with my own personal realization that I'm probably not going to run out and build a sun dial or start mapping my yard with stakes for where I see the sun rise and set each day, probably because I don't see that as a productive use of my time. And maybe that's why we don't take in these observations as a society either.

But with or without these observations of the rhythms of our calendar year, with or without solstice celebrations of the longest day, might there be something we could benefit from with regard to giving a pause to our day to observe what is happening around us?

Our society moves really fast; it's something we pride ourselves on. We love to knock out projects, send out emails, and constantly be doing. But maybe we need to create some intentional spaces for slowness in our lives. Maybe those emails can wait. Maybe those phone calls can wait.

Over the last few years, I have felt more and more of a tug drawing me to not slow down, to not take time to observe the world around me, to not find a space for reflection. And yet, when I listen to older people share what they wish they took more time to do, they say things like, "I wish I had taken more time to reflect."

So today, I'm not encouraging you to start marking up your yard with where the sun rises and sets over the next few months, but I am asking you to take a step. And honestly, I'm asking myself for the same step. Let's start taking time to observe a little more. Let's hit the pause button for a moment. I believe that the solstice provides us a great opportunity since we have a little more daylight than any other day during the year. Maybe during those few extra minutes of daylight, we can all unplug, and soak in what is happening in our immediate environment. Who knows, maybe we can begin to cultivate a new habit.

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