Rest: Settling into the rhythms of summer

Summer is supposed to be all about rest I think. And I am lucky enough to live in a country (Sweden) that values the importance of creating space for rest by making the work-life balance a priority. I have all of July off. So does everyone else. The law states that everyone has a right to multiple weeks off of paid vacation every year. Time off can vary from 4-6 weeks. But sometimes, it’s more. I always have 5 weeks. And, like everyone else, I take most of my time in the summer. So I can really let go + rest.

I realize that I am super privileged. And, having been born + raised + lived in the United States most of my life, I do not take my Swedish time off for granted. Not one day, not one moment. That I can promise. I know the struggle it is to get time off in the States. I know how it feels to not have any time off or to feel that you will be looked down as lazy because you take a day off. I know what it is like to feel so lucky to have only one week off in the summer to go to the beach. And I know that there are so many who have no time off + definitely no paid vacation at all.

Aside from the sheer difficulty in processing how blessed I am to have so much time off, I also find myself wondering… how can I really rest in this crazy summer? How can any of us? With a pandemic running loose all across the globe… And, yet, rest is just what I need. Even though life has been totally different since March and I’ve spent so much time at home, I still find myself needing rest. But, not just sleep. Deep, soul rest. A chance to release all that has been. To settle back into my soul. To find a sense of simple grounding + centering. Deeper than the daily anchoring that I live. I think we all need that.

Once again, I realize that I have the opportunity + privilege of time. I have time to rest. Four weeks of vacation mean that I can break the routine + intensity of the past 6 months. And, I realize that most people cannot do that. Still, we all need rest. So, I deeply hope that you are able to find a day, a week, some time to really sink into a slow, simple moment of true rest and pause for your soul.

For me, this summer’s vacation is my own pause. In my last post, I shared that I have decided that the month of July (my vacation) will be a sacred portal. A long transition + pause between the first half of the year + the second half of the year. A chance for me to let go of all that has happened so that I can refocus on what is to come. And, I am doing that by not thinking about what might come, but by being present in each moment as it passes. If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught me, it is that it truly is better to live in the present, for that is all we really have. We have all been forced to live much more in the present this year, not knowing anything about what tomorrow might bring, experiencing our lives suddenly being turned upside down + inside out.

So, for my vacation, I am pushing the pause button. It may be hard to do, but it is a conscious choice that I make daily. To be focused, present, grateful. To create space to release, breathe, feel, sleep, think.

Last week, during my first week off, Lina + I left the walls of our cozy little apartment and headed south in our car to a cabin in the Swedish archipelago. Out in the middle of nowhere, by the sea, socially distancing from other people, cooking our own food, and settling into nature. Slow, simple, wild.

I sank into the rhythms of the day. Following the sun, listening to my body, inspiring my mind, breathing fresh air, shifting with the weather, feeling the moon, sleeping as my soul needed it.

I put away my phone (except for photography + a bit of news once a day). I turned off everything except what was around me. I played cards with my love. Drank wine + beer. Sat by the water. Walked through the trees. Watched the rain. Felt the wind. Soaked in the sun. Becoming in tune with nature. Aligning myself with the earth + sky.

This was deep rest.

But, it was also a reminder of how to bring a deeper sense of rest home with me. My soul felt so free + wild, it felt as it should feel every day of my life…. so for the remainder of my vacation, I am going to explore how I can live in rhythm with the earth + sky, how I can live more simply + even more slowly, how I can create a deep sense of rest in my everyday life.

Because no one wants to wait all year for one week of rest. And we cannot live if we do not find a way to sink into a deep, slow, wild rest. We must anchor ourselves to the true, ancient ways of our souls. So, it is imperative for me to create space to rest my soul right in the midst of everyday life. Even in the midst of a pandemic. And how that looks for me may not be at all how it looks for you… but, that’s for you to discover for yourself.

Rest is medicine for the soul. And a week in the Swedish archipelago reminded me of that. But, it also inspired me to create the space back home to deeply anchor + center myself every day, all year long. There is another way to live. One that truly is in rhythm with nature. And, in my own way, I do believe that I have begun a long, slow journey of sinking down + rising up. A journey of living right here in the middle of my life, in the middle of all of the chaos, in the middle of every day messiness with a restful, grounded soul.

Here’s to finding rest + creating calm wherever we are today. xoxo. liz.

All photos taken last week in the Swedish archipelago at Misterhult, Kalmar, Sweden.

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