Summer’s deep labour

Hello there,

Where are you this summer? After a long isolation, some of us may find ourselves easing back into the world. I’m writing to you from Bali. As my yoga practice ended yesterday in an outdoor studio, I found my breath meeting the warmth of the sunshine on my face. At that moment I remembered how much I miss being able to breathe freely, a movement sensation that we can no longer take for granted.

We are knee-deep in summer, even though it feels like any other regular day for many of us in Singapore. Summer Solstice, a day marked by the longest period of sunshine in the Northern Hemisphere, has just passed on 21 June 2022. Here on the equator, we feel summer’s presence much more drastically. From the insane heat and humidity back in May to the sudden thunderstorms in June, we are hit with erratic changes that bring a deep discomfort within. It’s easy to succumb to temptations to abandon our plans, our goals, and our newfound motivation whenever there’s discomfort. We may give in to old habits and distractions. Here’s what I’ve learned with discomfort sitting in my living room for the most of my May and June: 

1. Summer is a time of deep, hard, and persistent work. 

The sun’s bright glare and scorching heat, though uncomfortable, is what transforms matter into life here on Earth. Instead of distracting ourselves with gratifications, use summer’s bright and strong energy to confront your current challenges head-on. Summer’s flare teaches us to trust: trust the fiery inner strength that we all carry in our bodies to ride through any process that we face at the moment

Confront where discomfort reigns.
That’s where the real work resides.

Do not be afraid of the sun, or try to avoid her penetrative glares. There’s a fiery sun within each of us, much like the one glaring down on a cloudless day.

Summer brings clarity, light, and heat, breathing energy into our power and agency.

2. Permit yourself to bloom at your own pace.

Summer flanks a display of flowers that confidently parade the world with their blooming accents. Meanwhile, other flowers patiently assured of their own time to shine. This quiet assurance carries another form oftrust: trust that all will unfold in its own time. This trust casts away the doubts and noise when we compare ourselves and our growth with others.

Whenever you find that temptation to compare, whenever impatience arise around the progress you want to see in your project, go out to the gardens. Sit with the flowers. You’ll notice that they do not seek to compare, yearn for attention, or ask for anyone’s approval. Wherever they are, blooming or waiting, they stand tall, bright, and ready. Ready to unfold, ready to receive.

This summer, I’ve been quietly contemplating my core values around the way I want to work and live. I find a steadying conviction towards #smallbatchgoodness. Creating in small batches, with each creation filled with heart-centred goodness, is how I want to operate SOMAYOKE, and how I want to embody my days ahead. 

Blooming is a messy and murky process, we learn that much from the water lilies and the lotus flowers. Do not be afraid to step into nutrient-rich mud. 

3. Gratitude transforms aggressive fires into steady glow. 

One of the summer seasons in the 24 solar terms created by farmers in the past is 小滿 (little full). Back in the ancient agricultural days, it marked a season when summer crops were plump, but not yet ripe.

The word 滿 can also mean content. That would translate this mini-season as ‘little contentment‘, which makes so much sense when we have to sit with nagging discomfort. It’s not a loud announcement, but a quiet breath of contentment.

A regular practice of gratitude has the power to keep us going by easing the fires made aggressive in the summer heat.  If we allow the fires of our ambition or frustration to burn over an extended period, we run the risk of burning our house down. In other words, a possible burnout. Gratitude can soften that fire into a steady glow instead. With every little practice of gratitude and contentment, we steady ourselves from the temptations to give in or give up.

What, and who, are you grateful for this week? Where do you feel that gratitude in your body? You are welcome to place a hand over that part of your body and feel into that tingling, pulsing, or warming sensation of gratitude for a minute or two, if you like.

Here’s wishing you moments of ‘little contentment’ for the rest of your summer days. 

May there be ease wherever you are x