Embracing Seasonal Cycles + A Summer Playlist
There is something about summer that never fails to drift me into a more aimless, dreamy, and floating state of mind.
I wonder sometimes if the seasonal clock that dictated our early school lives still ticks inside of us, surfacing into old patterns and habits. Something holds on to that vivid memory of hard work and studying from September to May, followed by about three months of blissful summer freedom. Of course, reality changes and for most of us (unless you happen to be working in a school) the hustle continues on, no matter what the weather whispers in our ears.
I am lucky in that my regular work load does decrease in general in July- less classes to teach and fewer clients at the gym. However, it also tends to be the time when I try to work more individually and internally, focusing on my own training and technique in the studio, developing personal projects, and traveling for workshops and intensives outside of Morocco. It is the kind of work that usually requires more self-discipline, but those tangible memories of lazy summer vacations always make it a little bit harder to impose a rigid routine.
While I know some people who are energized by the summer, I happen to be the complete opposite. Heat and humidity make me lethargic and sloth-like, but this year I’ve decided not to fight it too much. Instead of chiding myself for falling into what I call my “summer mode,” this year I have decided to try to embrace the feeling and bring all of these new rhythms and sensations into my work.
How does heat effect the body and how can I move with it? What about movements to try to cool down?
What happens while dancing and simultaneously dreaming of the beach? Or even better, what about dancing on the beach?
I have been trying to find a balance between being disciplined enough to get my body to the studio and allowing myself to also give in to those moments when all I want to do is melt into the cushions on our balcony and watch seagulls fly by. The wonderful illustrator Maira Kalman said in an interview,
"The moments when I allow my mind to wander and daydream are the times when I am able to come up with the ideas that really please me the most. It's not straining, it's not trying very hard – there’s always a lovely sense of surprise of what you'll come up with when you're not trying.”
This is what I want to try to embody this summer. Using those summer daydreams as a way to wander through my own mind (and body, when in the studio), with no aim of trying to reach any goals or find something specific, but allowing for surprises that could perhaps be a motivating force once I am ready to pick up speed again.
We are, without a doubt, creatures who are deeply affected by our surroundings, so I am trying to enjoy moving and working with the natural cycles and rhythms around us. That means when summer is seeping under my skin, I intend to experience it completely, knowing that it is just a phase. I may not have a full-on vacation like I did back in the school days, but I can take this season as a change of routine and pace, reassessing old habits and allowing my schedule to unwind a bit.
For this summer shift, I’ve made a playlist to carry me through each day. It is equal parts sunny, upbeat, dreamy and a little spaced-out. Music to enhance those sun-soaked and slightly sedated sensations. In parallel, todays #ThursdayImprov was inspired by the first song on the playlist- floating, water-y, and heating up with energy as it moves along. I’m sharing both with you in hopes that they might motivate your own season-inspired creations.
You can listen to the full playlist on Spotify by clicking below: