"Summer time and the living is easy". This is a lovely song and a powerful thought, but it's sometimes hard to do. Whatever stage of adult life you're at: a parent with children, wondering how you're going to fill the next 6 weeks, whilst juggling work commitments and childcare; maybe you've just had a student returned from Uni and are despairing that the house is overtaken by boxes and your sewing room is now back to being a bedroom, so you have no space to play (which let's face it is vital for our well-being); or are you a commuter endeavouring to survive hot tubes and buses? Think of the self-employed worker without a holiday in sight and a slew of deadlines that can't be postponed, even if your brain is muggy; possibly you're working with the general public who are more than a little cranky, because of the hot weather; or maybe you're a pensioner uncomfortable and out of sorts in this heat. For some of us / all of us, sometimes it's not so easy.
A very wise woman (one of my sisters) sent me an article yesterday written by Caitlin Moran in The Times Magazine. I have now read and re-read it several times. It's about being a carer and learning to breathe. To paraphrase and quote from Caitlin's article,
"So we loll our heads, and breathe. We just ... breathe. We are, for the first time in months, in the moment. And there, in less than a minute, is this sudden, deep, black, beautiful rush - black like space, or the sea at night - through the body. ... This is the only thing you want. ... When you breathe this deep, it is impossible to be unhappy or rigid, or fearful any more. Those tiny, automatic shallow breaths we make do with in our day-to-day life? They make us feel slightly deprived; as if we were slowly drowning. They are the panic and the anxiety. But ten breaths like this, and you feel as if you have had an afternoon off. Twenty, and you've returned, tanned, from Corfu."
So my one wish to you all this summer - friends, family, colleagues and customers, is to take time. Be kind and smile at strangers in the street or the elderly neighbour that you don't really know. Don't complain to shop staff and public transport workers about the heat (we do know, we are present too!), seize whatever small moments you can for yourself, dabble with small crafting projects which just keep you this side of sane, and the biggest one of all - just breathe. Take it easy now.