Warming Up & Cooling Down

Our skin and our soul warm to summer’s embrace, bringing respite in weary times. Our senses come alive in the warmth: tasting the Sun’s energy in watermelons and peaches, seeing it in sunflowers and in golden light, and smelling it in lilies and in roses. We can play again. Kids draw with chalk on the sidewalk, and run through sprinklers on the grass. Adults bring color to the garden and food to the grill. Maybe we can, like a child, run through a sprinkler or two!

While the Sun gives light and fragrance, it also energizes our body through making Vitamin D in the deep layers of the skin. This complex “photoendocrine” system keeps our bodies running smoothly. We can thank Vitamin D for our capacity to walk upright because it helps calcium mineralize the skeleton. It also supports the heart, lungs and muscles, and strengthens the immune system.

Sunlight lifts our spirits too, making us want to sing. “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy/Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry/Sunshine on the water looks so lovely/Sunshine almost always makes me high” (John Denver , 1971) “Sun is shining, weather is sweet, make you want to move your dancing feet” (Bob Marley, 1971).

Have you noticed your body relaxing and your heart expanding as you read? This is good for the nervous system and for readiness. It helps build resilience for whatever comes our way.

Every living organism has an inside and an outside – between those places there exists some form of “skin”, as in the bark on trees. Our skin is our covering and we spend our lives within its confines. It is the major boundary between ourselves and everyone and everything else.

Our planet has a “skin” too. Just as our skin regulates our bodily processes, the atmosphere regulates our planetary processes. Sadly, there are “wounds” or gaps in the layer of atmospheric ozone that let in more radiation, and our planet also suffers inflammation from too much CO2.

Fortunately, many people hear the cries of Mother Earth. So many in fact, that in 2015 most countries of the world agreed to protect our island home. Since then, much has changed in our country, but people keep answering the call to preserve our precious planet.

Cooling our planet so that it can continue to support life takes hope in community. In an interesting way, it takes the warmth you were feeling earlier in your body and in your heart -because that warmth helps connect you to other people. Turning away in numbness or living in an agitated state may seem preferable to facing inconvenient truth.

But time and time again, I have found in offering psychotherapy, that a safe relationship, and being seen and heard helps clients to heal: helps them to face physical, personal, social, and even planetary truths. When they do, transformation can flourish.