words and photographs by Sandra TonkinsonIt’s been more than 35 years since the movie Grease premiered on June 13 and “Summer Nights” has become one of the most recognizable songs that you will find scores of people to sing along with. The duet has this energy that is all about summer and tugs at the heart. A love story. A bit of a tease, that excites. A bit of flirting, especially with yourself. No, it does not have to be all red lipstick, high heels, greased up hair, and leather!
Most people love the summer. The sun is out and with the warmer weather, more people are out and about. We get even more active, moving the body and moving the energy. Everyone is just happier, lighter. We have literally shed the heavy weight of winter clothing. The sun and the wind kiss our skin, re-sensitizing us to the tingling of a light touch.
Unfolding in all of the furrows
that lined and burst open my mind,
all kinds of beautiful flowers
at summer’s most gentle wind.
For two who love one another
can torture each other far worse
than all enemies put together
can wreak vengeance over the earth;
And two who love one another
can heal wounds beyond all repair
just if they look at each other
and smooth down each other’s hair.
Ingeborg (1901) by Viggo Stuckenberg (1863-1905)
School is also out and tourism is at a peak. New graduates and other seekers backpack or go on volunteerism trips. Families go camping or see the country’s landmarks and interesting sights. Islands with a few hundred of residents swell to thousands. There is this migration that moves energy around the world, and intermingles. The blood of our world moves, and flows, and bubbles.
It is a natural cycle for us to explore our loves, after springing to new life and rebirth at Spring, emerging from the stillness and introspection of Winter. The Summer is about the Heart and Small Intestine Meridian Family. This is about discovering or re-discovering our heart’s desires, our loves, our visions…and making choices based on that.
Life is all about rhythm and cycles. Interestingly, according eastern thought, the body works on a 24 hour clock, with each meridian prominent and active every two hours. The Heart precedes the Small Intestine which is a good reminder that our decisions should be made based on what we truly love, what truly makes our heart sing. It is liberating to be able to hear that voice, that drum beat.
Sometimes this means reaching back to your childhood, to your first dreams. Peel back the layering of dreams superimposed by others. Not the answers you gave to please your parents or an answer that garnered you smiles, lollipops or acceptance.
Sometimes this means exploring something new – new places, new skills, new people, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone. Ah, the comfort zone! We don’t have to jump out of a plane to feel the pulse of life again. Or maybe we do. Virginia Woolf spoke of this self-discovery that can be found in a moment’s solitude, in familiar surroundings. For some people, they need to journey to remoteness, to reorient themselves not with what lives in their lives but independent of their habitual landscape. It takes what it takes to come back to yourself. But ultimately it is all within, always there. Seeded so very long ago.
Sometimes it is just counting your blessings, and living in gratitude. Seeing your own shadows, cleaning up your projections, and inviting in higher states of being – appreciation, grace, love, peace, harmony, innocence, forgiveness, compassion, humanity…
For me, I started this summer with a solo trip to Scandinavia. It was always going to be this – being in this part of the world. I was always meant to be there, alone. Many renditions of this sojourn appeared as mists and shadows but never quite materialized. What did show up, solidified a few days at a time, was serendipitous, welcoming, and illuminating. The open space, the stunning landscapes, and the people I met have helped me tap into the rhythm and the energy of the Heart Meridian, of those elements within myself. An alchemist’s pilgrimage. A wanderer’s dream. A lover’s return.
People asked how is it that I could be alone for one month, without much of a plan, in a foreign country. First, Scandinavians all speak super English so communication was never the fault line. Even without a map, I knew someone would – and did – help point me in the right direction. I could never be lost with the mountains and the seas, and as corny as it sounds, an open heart. There is always something to orient me, to ground me, to settle me. The Midnight Sun, with 24 hours of daylight, gave me ample time to lose my way and return. I was not bored, as some people surmised. I was not scared or brave as others thought. I didn’t see or do as much as some people thought and I saw and did much more than others would want. I was breaking my own pattern of needing to see and do it all. Being by myself, I was the captain of my own ship and the director of my own schedule. Company is nice and appreciated and I have had some wonderful travel companions but not always essential, as the case on this trip. It was an exercise in letting go. That included letting go of photographing every bend, every nook, every breathtaking moment. I used mostly my iPhone and while the resolution is not always magnificent for a magazine spread, the beauty of Scandinavia is inescapable, even if a bit fuzzy.
Whisper your desire to the wind.
Ask the wind to take it to the end of the world.
Yoko Ono, Acorn