The word "summer" conjures up feelings of spaciousness and fun: long weekends, ice cream from street corner vendors and sunset cocktails.
I aspire to feel spacious, to enjoy the present moment. And I mostly do.
But it can be tricky to stay with the present moment if we keep adding things to our to-do-list without subtracting anything.
Summer has a lot of add-ons. Have you noticed?
The artists I've spoken with recently are doing so much more than they do during the other 10-months of the year - and mostly for other people.
So when they aspire to add something for themselves - a retreat, a gallery show, a book, a course or challenge. . . that can cause a wave of difficult feelings to crash over them.
This summer, my mom is here with me for six weeks. My two suburban teens (who don't drive) are home all summer with plans to go places. I am serving my clients with coaching, workshops and retreats. This is all good stuff.
Then I agreed to write my first book. Copy is due every week to my editor. No problem.
Except when it is.
I have fear and a story that comes with mean thoughts:
"Naomi, get real, you don't have the time or the space for this book." "And you aren't smart enough to pull it off." "You are an ungrateful daughter, you should give more time to your mom." "Who sends their daughter to Jersey City in an UBER?" "Does this smell?" "Is there anything to eat in this house?"
I can grapple with anger, self-doubt, wanting and fear of all kinds, but if I don't LET GO of something, nothing will shift and I'll just feel cruddy. LETTING GO requires that I make a choice to accept occasionally disappointing my mother and making requests that will empower my family to help me with cleaning the kitchen, washing smelly laundry and stocking the fridge, for starters.
I make choices every day to balance my ambition to be a successful coach with my desire to be present for my mom and my children, for rest and romance, for friends and and creativity. It doesn't always work out perfectly, in fact it usually doesn't. But by declaring my intention to do the things I choose to do and by letting go of my attachment to doing everything perfectly, there is much more space for ice cream.