The world is getting more wound up by the minute. For better or worse, all signs show that this is trend will continue into the Summer. To help balance out the scales a bit, we put together a quick, 1-2-3 How To Chill: Summer Edition to help you navigate the choppy waters ahead. No matter what happens in the chaotic world out there, it’s helpful to remember:
“Some things are up to us and some things are not up to us.” - Epictetus
Fortunately, choosing to stay calm is one of the wonderful things that is “up to us”. We can choose to embrace the wild winds. We can choose to not contribute to the society of stress. We can choose to chill.
During our latest trip to Costa Rica, we were shown, reminded of, and personally experienced a variety of avenues through which mind, body, and spirit can chill. Here’s three unwinding techniques we learned abroad:
Be Informed By the Elements -
The first chapter of our Costa Rica adventure took place at La Cusinga Eco Lodge where we participated in Blissed Yoga Retreat’s Earth Centered Yoga & Meditation Retreat with Sybil Merriman. The retreat was mindfully constructed around each of the different elements. Over four days, the yoga classes and meditative reflections explored themes earth, water, fire, and air. Each day took the simple approach of exploring these elements - one at a time - through the mind and body. And it made all the difference in helping us unwind.
Focusing on small, constitutional parts of experience is a great tactic to help a person not get overwhelmed by the whole and appreciate the small and simple.
If you focus on all the problems of the world or all the things you need to get done today, it is difficult to know what to do or where to start. But if you take things one small at a time, a healthy and happy path forward will emerge.
This is especially true in nature. If you are looking to understand the world around you, be informed by the natural elements. Each one has something new to tell you about the nature of our planet. Each element has endless lessons on how to align and harmonize with what can sometime seem like an unpredictable and chaotic world, and each lesson helps us chill. A calm confidence comes from being informed by the elements that surround you.
Light the Light Guide You
Costa Rica is located relatively close to the equator. Because of this, the sun rose at 5:00 a.m. and set at 5:00 p.m. After a quick adjustment period from the American sun cycle, we adapted and embraced this earlier sunrise and sunset standard. I can say for certain that through allowing our days in Costa Rica to be guided by the light, a certain sense of calm was added to our trip.
In media production, the best time to generate photos and videos is known as the “golden hour”. During this time, the world is magic. Lightly gently passes through the trees, kindly compliments the mountainscape, and softly sparkles along the water. Most of the primary generators of psychic stress - humans - are asleep, so the wild world is the primary influencer of experience. Because we chased the golden hours while in undeveloped, natural areas, we were able to experience an exceptionally relaxed side of Costa Rica.
A loving relationship with light doesn’t need to start and stop with the golden hour. Our bodies love the light! A healthy relationship with the sun leads to a number of psychosomatic benefits, including but not limited to: improved brain function, lowered blood pressure, ease of depression, improved sleep quality, healing of some skin disorders, and enhanced immunity. Add it all up and it’s simple to see that responsible and safe time in the sunlight leads to one chill individual.
Create Space and Enjoy the Emptiness -
One of the more wonderful parts of my personal experience in Costa Rica had nothing to do with Costa Rica itself, but rather the empty space that it created from my hustle-n-bustle life back in the United States. Summer makes for the perfect time to take a break from the “real world” life and explore the natural world around you.
The further you distance into unchartered territory this Summer, the more space you will create from your day-to-day life. The further you get away from those day-to-day habits, the more clearly you can see and understand what your life is as a whole. All of the problems and stresses, successes and pleasures, that we let define our lives become smaller and smaller - and by extension - less overwhelming and more manageable.
What’s the best empty space? Nature, of course! Take your pick - land, water, air, or sun. Empty time spent relaxing, exploring , floating, or soaking in any of these settings are worth their weight in gold on the scale of Chill. The empty space endlessly available (and mostly for free) will dilute and marginalize the stresses of modern society. Almost as if through osmosis, the calm empty space of the outdoors will draw out and stimulate the natural chill innate in us all.
We hope you enjoyed this edition of “How to Chill”. Comment below on what you think about what is featured above, or to share your methods for chilling with us. Stay tuned for more tip and tricks to tap into an unwound way of living from your friends at Fayettechill.