Making the best of summer without expectations

July 09, 2013

Making the best of summer without expectations
Editor's Note: Kieran Sequoia is a Native American, Mexican, French and Deutsch actor, producer and self-proclaimed happiness junkie living in New York City. She will periodically write blog posts about health and wellness for the Tanka website.


We have been counting down the days to summer since our very first day of school.

Summer does something to our minds. Summer is carefree and easy. Summer screams for celebration and love. Summer is for vacations and beaches, feeling great and looking good. Summer is for tans and swimsuits.

All that expectation can lead to unfulfilling realities and thoughts that do more harm than good.

Swimsuits? I am not ready to be in a swimsuit! My family reunion is the same weekend my in-laws are coming into town. My best friend is getting married! I still need to look at the registry and book a flight! How much is this going to cost? I hope my bridesmaid's dress still fits. I need to find someone to watch the dog. The kids get out of school this week! Should I drive or take the shuttle to the airport? I think my passport is expired.

If Summer is so wonderful, how did it get to be so stressful?

One of the advantages of living in NYC is a built-in awareness of what is going on in the world. You can turn your TV off, you can stop reading the news, and somehow, you still know what is happening in the world. Being so plugged in can also be equally destructive if one is not cognizant. Summer advertising in the city was kicked off with a 150 foot billboard of Beyonce in a swimsuit for H&M. Along with a price, $9.95. The price was accessible, but would I look like Beyonce in that same swimsuit? No. Then the important question occurred to me: did I really want to look like Beyonce? No. I wanted to look like me, because me is who I am.

Summer is the season most ripe with paradoxes. You are meant to relax, but there is so much pressure to relax and have "the best Summer ever" that it is nearly impossible. We are all meant to have golden tans, but most of us work indoors and what about those of us that get pinker in the sun instead of more golden? We have all been warned about the lasting effects of sun damage and yet we are still after the effect of weeks in the sun.

Let me speak now to swimsuits. We are told that a successful summer includes looking great in a swimsuit but there is food at every event. After all, food and merriment go hand-in-hand! Who doesn't want to celebrate without abandon, enjoying the food and drink they most desire? BBQ's after work? Fourth of July feasts, picnics, family reunions, baby showers, weddings and general celebration. Food is an international indicator that happiness has been expected.

So what is keeping you from the summer you looked forward to all year? One word: expectation.

Historically, summer has been a time for creation, light and renewal. Not swimsuits, vacations or hot-dogs. Why not adopt a similar mentality? Take this glorious season to ask your wonderful-one-and-only-self what is most important to you. Instead of relying on expectations, shine the light in on how you really feel about what you are doing.

When we make a decision to be present in a moment, we also become so much more aware of how we are feeling in that moment. Make a conscious choice moment after moment to be aware. With this simple practice you may soon notice that you can maintain a heightened sense of self-awareness for an hour and then perhaps an entire day. With self-awareness we can begin to identify how we feel and why we feel that way, which will bring us closer to choices that are reflective of our desires, not our fears.

If I feel anxious about gaining weight or maintaining my figure throughout the summer, that emotion is based in fear. I am afraid that if I eat too much I will gain weight. What if I simply practiced mindful choices? Being self-aware, I would know when I was full. I would then have the choice to stop eating. If we can regain control of ourselves through awareness, we are also taking back the power we lose to fear.

Mindful choices can be applied to every aspect of our wellbeing and as we take the opportunity to honor our true feelings we also heal ourselves. We can heal our bodies through mindful eating and movement, we can heal our minds through awareness and honesty. We are each intuitive, self-regulating, love-beings and we each have the opportunity to find ourselves again. Take the comfort and ease of summer and start a new tradition. You have the ability to heal yourself.


Previous posts:

Self-love and learning to be happy are imperative to good health

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