While a sunburn may be quite painful and downright dangerous, it can be avoided with protection. Applying sunscreen takes preparation, awareness and application. A little discipline goes a long way in preventing a burn. Us Michiganders, who feel sun deprived, often overexpose ourselves. No doubt, sunshine is beneficial. Go outside! But, don’t stop doing all the things that are good for you. When summer comes around maintain balance, rather than going buck wild, AND still have fun in the sun!
As a yoga studio owner, I see a mass exodus of members beginning each spring. I am not here telling you to retain your membership (although you should!). As a reminder, the same life challenges still happen in the summertime. We still have the same mind no matter the weather. There are still changes and challenges every day. We still have relationships and jobs. We often throw our discipline out the door to get outdoors, without thinking to protect ourselves beforehand. Are you overexposing yourself to life without applying sunscreen?
Yoga is a ‘sunscreen’ –a method of protection from harsh elements. Practicing yoga and daily disciplines keeps me from falling apart, going nuts and overreacting. Simultaneously, energy increases with clear thinking and more focus. Even when someone’s actions burn me, I don’t get as burned as in the past. Each morning, I wake up and place my monkey mind on some true wisdom. These words, thoughts, teachings, values and knowledge lift my mind out of the gutter and prevent me from getting caught up in the web of life. With a sense of peace and objectivity holding me steady, I am less bothered when things don’t go my way. Discarding that discipline for 75 degrees and sunny, would continually burn me. If one hour helps to maintain sanity, it’s well worth it!
Recently a friend and I spoke regarding the summer struggle to stay on track. They mentioned a pool party conflicting with a prior engagement. It is tempting to bail from a commitment and go party! I totally get it. Me too. But I don’t and won’t, because of being burned too many times. This is not a judgement, only a caution. Life is brief and our time is valuable. We have an opportunity to get to the pinnacle of our existence in THIS lifetime. Even if we fall short, we will find more and more joy moving forward.
The other day, the weather was beautiful. It was a perfect summer day, not too hot or humid, a light breeze to refresh the skin without a cloud in the sky. Felt like a dream. On that day, I received an email note from someone severing ties with me. It was sudden, shocking and upsetting. Did I go play in the sun and drink myself to oblivion? No! That would ultimately make me feel worse. I did what I was supposed to do and taught my class at EnSoul Yoga. I shared a message about the importance of communication, especially when exiting a relationship or job. I reminded students that we can only control ourselves and not anyone else. When wondering about someone’s actions, it can hurt. However, using objectivity, we won’t be as disturbed because it isn’t personal! Teaching the class helped me move on and the remainder of the day was still perfect. I walked to my car enjoying the fresh air and drove with all the windows and sunroof open! I hung with my dogs in the yard and called up my support troops for guidance.
The next day was almost a carbon-copy of the day before weather-wise. As you know, this is extremely rare in Michigan. After the dust had settled, sadness lingered over the loss. However, I studied to settle my mind and took a quick jog with the horse-dog Great Dane, Onyx, to get my body moving. Later, I had an appointment scheduled during prime sun hours. But, when I walked in to the studio, devoted teachers were there lending support. Their smiles lifted my spirits. Doing my job and sticking to my commitment felt great. Why? Because what I ought to do protects me from getting burned. Later in the day, I experienced an incredibly uplifting yoga class with many other glorious souls who decided to take one hour of the perfect-weather day to go within themselves at the studio. When we go inside ourselves, we connect to a power much greater than the sun.
Let’s stay disciplined this summer. Sunblock doesn’t require us to stay out of the sun or be indoors, it helps ensure we do not overexpose ourselves to the point of being in pain. You know: red, blistered, overheated and peeling... NOT FUN! When we regret actions, we get burned! That hurts. If you are aware of people, places and activities that challenge your control, avoid them. Find healthier alternatives. That is preventative protection. Being outside is way more delightful when you keep yourself in check!