My daily walk takes me past a pond. As I revel in the heat of summer, I am transported back to when I was a kid, back to some wonderful memories. As with the Lakeside pond, the water in Polliwog Pond (named for the polliwogs that later became frogs) could be peaceful. No ripples moving across at all. Or the frogs and birds that stop by to drink and eat might cause a ripple or two. The wind would travel across it, creating small waves. All of us neighborhood kids would ride our bikes over to this place, especially in mid-summer, looking for a place to cool off from the heat. To stomp around in the water was the height of freedom!
At times this last winter, the pond here in Lakeside iced over. All but the very center of the pond is covered with a thin layer of hard and cold. And I was told that the ducks at Woodland Park will tumble and skate over the ice on their webbed feet to splash in the water in the middle of that lake. But this time of the year, the pond is liquid. If I happen to startle the ducks as they sleep, they will waken and take off. They are like little swamp boats, with their feet in the water and tails acting as rudders as their flapping wings zip them across the pond.
But underneath the ripples and waves on top of the pond, moving deeper and deeper toward the bottom, all is quiet. Sinking down into the depths, like a leaf drifting one way and the next until it reaches the base of the body of water. There is a stillness not found on the surface. All is still. Peaceful, tranquil, calm. Quiet, silent, still, serene. Unless there is a disturbance, everything is at rest.
My mind is like the pond. And I’ll bet yours is too. When life is chaotic and demanding, my thoughts are in a tumble. I find it easy to lose focus. To get overwhelmed by what seems to be important. To get distracted and disturbed by the smallest of things. But if I let go of the hustle and bustle, if I go beneath the surface, I find peace and tranquility once again. My thoughts slow down and I notice the magic of summer. The fruit on the trees is growing quickly, adding the promise of the harvest apples and peaches coming soon. Birds burst into song, first with sleepy chirps then with full melodies, as the predawn slowly announces a new day.
But how to leave the chaos behind? To easily enter the stillness beneath the surface? One simple way is to pay attention to nature. I slow down my breathing and begin to notice what is around me. The growth on branches of trees and shrubs, the warmth or the breeze on my face. As I do this, my gut begins to relax and my shoulders drop. The muscles in my neck start to go slack and my face relaxes. The muscles in my jaw let go, as does my wrinkled forehead. The thoughts that seem so very important float away, and I once again find the peace within, the calm beneath the waves of my tumult.
Enjoy the peace of summer. Live unstuck.