Some of us remember the times when MTV dictated our musical tastes for the summer. Every year, there would be a set of several songs that radio stations around the world played on repeat during the sunny period making us associate those particular tunes with our vacation cheer. Whenever we heard one of those songs afterwards, our brain effectively evoked fond memories in our mind’s eye.
Nowadays, we are no longer at the mercy of someone else choosing our life’s soundtrack for us, we create our own playlists for summertime and beyond.
And that’s precisely what the sunshine season is all about – freedom. When the time comes to loosen our ties and put on sunglasses, our world becomes unrestrained. All of a sudden, we have more space for uninterrupted joy and the kind of lightness that makes us feel like we’re levitating. You know, that feeling we find on a surfboard or watching a sunset with friends – when we leave our obligations behind and open our hearts to childish enthusiasm.
At Intelligent Change, gratitude is always top of the charts. So we want to help you make it the smash hit on your own playlist to turn this summer into one you’ll remember – literally. Because gratitude is mindfulness, and mindfulness means stronger memories and prolonged happiness. If done right, gratitude has lasting effects on our well-being, helping us keep summer in our hearts even on shorter, gloomier days.
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger––something better, pushing right back.” ― Albert Camus
Wherever you go for vacation this year (if you even go anywhere at all), every day is a one-time mega event in the universe. There will never again be another 24 hours like today, especially in the summer when we are encouraged to throw our routines out the window and embrace spontaneity, improvisation, and pure fun. So let’s begin exactly where you are. Before you book that trip of your dreams to a faraway corner on the other side of the world, look around you.
Gratitude begins with the magnificent basic luxuries of a comfy bed, clean seawater (perfect for an afternoon swim), or freshly picked strawberries from a farmer's market. And if this sounds like a cliché to you, that’s proof of how blessed you’ve been in your life.
Psst! We might actually have something to help you keep your gratitude practice in check –– join the Intelligent Change team for the Summer of Gratitude challenge (more information here).
What you’re grateful for is also where you’re going. So what tunes is your heart in the mood for this season? What is this year’s gratitude playlist for you?
Is it the peace and harmony of the sea waves gently washing over your feet and putting you in a meditative state? The tranquility of beach sand running through your fingers and grounding you in the present moment? Or, are you up for a run along the coast? Breathing in new vitality into your limbs, splashing water as you go, so you can rediscover what it feels like to be young (birth certificates aside).
Perhaps you’d like to see mountains again, remind yourself of your limits and how to push through them with every step of the upward journey. If you accept the challenge of the climb, you know there’s a reward at the end – the pervasive satisfaction wrapped in breathtaking views. The splendor of nature’s miracles will leave you in awe. Conquering a mountain stays with you forever.
And what about a city break? Could your creativity benefit from you wandering the streets decorated with magnificent architecture? Splendid monuments weaving in between coffee shops and flower stands and sunbathing in the mesmerizing lights and shadows of the golden hour? Pay attention to what’s around the corner, rediscover the meaning of inspiration and beauty brought to life by those who came before us.
Also, how fun would it be to go on a road trip with friends? Getting lost in the woods and having a laugh about it with those you choose for company? Sometimes, mindfulness is listening to seagulls enthusiastically announcing their flight schedule above our heads. Sometimes, it’s pedaling on a water bike across the lake. Or, sitting around a campfire in mid-July, singing well-worn, tacky songs because those are the only ones you all know so everyone can participate.
Oh, summer, what would we do without your light? Without your warm embrace and occasional evening storms that clear the air? Every ray of sunshine, every drop of summer rain, and every smash hit on our vacation playlist is a reminder that days can get longer and the world eventually gets brighter.
Dear summer, sing to us in butterflies, flip-flops, and lazy hours in a hammock. Bring seaside harmony and the joy of adventure into our days so we can appreciate the depth of life more easily. Help us rest, reset, and refresh our motivation before we go back to our routines. Tickle us with your sunbeams till we roll on the beach laughing until we cry. Give us music, give us peace, give us a new sense of hope. That’s a lot to ask of one season, but please know, dear summer, we are very grateful to have you in our year.