August - Finally, a month when you don’t have to do anything. 

Photo by Jordan Bauer

Photo by Jordan Bauer

A couple days ago, I sat in the waiting room of a salon, waiting for my hair stylist to refresh my heavy locks.  It’s uncommon for me to cut my hair regularly, but it seemed the perfect self-care thing to do during this heavy time of my life.
In front of me was placed a large glass table covered in women’s magazines.  It’s rare that I read these, for I find them largely unsubstantial.  This day though, I picked one up and starting flipping through as I sipped my iced latte - as a white woman does while she waits for her hair to be cut.  I’m so glad I did, for I found an article that did not seem as though it belonged in such a magazine.  Here I found the exact message I needed to hear in that tired moment.  It was as though finding this treasure was meant to be that day.  Meant for me, and now for you.  For it’s time, again, to remind ourselves to go gently.

Thank you Sarah Selecky.

August - Finally, a month when you don’t have to do anything. 

By Sarah Selecky

Let yourself collapse.  You can’t be expected to hold it all together when the heat is pursuing you like this.  Surrender to a Mason jar full of ice water, and squeeze half a lemon into it.  See how the lemon juice creates a haze in the water?  Doesn’t the haze look sort of like smog?  And yet every sip feels like clarity.

There’s a metaphor there, but it’s too hot to think about what it might mean.

Take 10 minutes to reflect on the emptiness of your dreams.  You don’t have to do anything—just feel the feelings of nothingness.  See how that pattern repeats in your life right now:  It’s there in your lack of productivity, your tired enterprises, the futility you feel around your creative pursuits, the list of things to do that don’t feel important anymore.  It’s there in the way you should feel hungry because it’s suppertime, but you don’t.  This month, all of your appetites are gone.

Good news!  That’s just as it should be.  If this feels like sadness or if it simply freaks you out, just look outside yourself to be reassured.

Watch how the grasses are finished, too.  The trees are all done.  Their leaves aren’t pulsing with green anymore, but they’re not even falling from the branches, because falling would take too much effort.  The birds are quietly exhausted, waiting to leave.  Even the waves in the lake are dragging themselves to the shore.

There is no more hustle.  Thankfully, that time is over.  It will come back soon enough.

For now, just let everything roll to a pause, the way it wants to.  Let your hips move like a slowing pendulum.  Speak only if you must.  Feel the way vowels stretch the inside of your mouth; notice how tired you become, just from speaking and thinking.  Pull one or two crucial sentences out like taffy:  “I can’t do that today. I am taking a rest.”  And then stay quiet.

It’s going to be OK.

Let yourself go slowly.  Walk to the train.  Stop at the yellow light.  You have time:  You contain epochs inside yourself.  You can’t be late when you are creating every minute with your own languid strides.  Nothing exists outside of this.  Your steps become the seconds.  When you step slowly, your time moves slowly.

When the day presses you, let yourself be pressed.  Don’t resist it.  Once you abandon your fight and slip inside that cocoon of heat, you can feel it actually lifting you.  Up there, up above in the frightening cloud of nothingness, is where you can rest.  It’s the only way.

The city matches your insides and outsides.  Everything is the haze of lemon water.  Let yourself go cloudy.  Let yourself slow to nothing.  The end of summer is the time to soften your gaze, dull your points, release your hunger and rest.