I could be more excited to bring you today’s Summer of Authenticity guest blogger, but I’d probably spontaneously combust from said excitement. Julie Daley is one of my soul sisters—a woman full of strength, creativity, vitality—and I’m honored to have her share space with us, where she shares her experience and wisdom, from this lifetime and beyond .
When Dian asked me to contribute to this Summer of Authenticity series a while back, I didn’t think much of the fact that I live in San Francisco where we’re steeped in fog at least part of almost every day in July, August, and sometimes the first part of September. So the summer of authenticity takes on a different feeling for me. It’s a mixed-up kind of jumbled feeling – like how I feel when I am walking in the cold foggy wind and it suddenly hits me it’s summer, and that somewhere it is HOT, but right here it’s NOT.
Before I lived in foggy summers, summertime was a time of being outside, dressed in very little, loving the sunshine, and lots of play. Here in the foggy parts? Not so much. While I relish my flip-flops even in the fog, it can be hard to get into the summer groove. So as I sat down to write this post, I had to think about how summer and full aliveness go together. This IS my summer…foggy and windy.
For me, fully alive means fully here, in my body, present in my senses. When summer is sunny, like my summers of past, sunshine and blue skies are a sensual invitation to do just that. Walking barefoot, sleeping with the windows open, playing in the water, feeling the sun and breeze on my skin, eating fresh foods are all deeply alive and sensual experiences.
In the summer, our human cycles and rhythms are in tune with feelings of aliveness, outward expansion and expending energy, being in the world in an outward way (just as in the winter, our cycles and rhythms are about going inward, about fallow fields and gathering energy in). Here in fog central, while something tells me I should be experiencing such things, when I step outside, it’s cold and windy and it’s hard to not want to go back inside and get cozy. In some ways, living in a foggy summer seems to go against my own natural body rhythms.
Being here, right here, with everything just as it is has been hard for me in my life. In many ways, mine hasn’t been an easy life. Early trauma can cause the nervous system to respond with flight or fight, the antithesis of ‘be here now’, and for most of us that flight or fight isn’t conscious but more of a physiological response to unexpected stimuli. Yet, a fully alive soul is one who is here, now, not fighting what’s here, not wishing it to be different.
I’ve had some experiences that have caused me to want to be anywhere but here, anywhere but right where those experiences found me. It seems this is true for most of us human beings, that we can have a tendency to want to be fully here for certain things, and then when things come we dislike, we want nothing to do with being here. In June, I was in Alaska and the never-ending sunshine (literally as it never really did get fully dark) felt like it was going to drive me crazy. For my first five days there, I longed for the dark – literally longed for it. My body craved it. It had a hard time adjusting to having no night.
Weather and seasons bring the cycles and rhythms to our lives, and those cycles and rhythms can feel as if they will always be the same – sun and heat in the summer, cold and rain in the winter – but they aren’t and won’t. Just like other areas of our lives – relationships, work, health – what seems as if it will always be here can suddenly shift and change, and even when we want what we want, what shows up can be very different.
Our world is changing and shifting faster than our ideas of how we want change to be. Climate change itself seems to be throwing our whole planet, and we humans, for a loop. To be fully alive means surfing the changes as best we can, but it also means allowing ourselves to feel where things feel off. Things are off, very off, and we can feel it. How do we respond to this? How do we allow ourselves to feel what is really here?
These words are moving in cycles, weaving things in and out. This post isn’t linear. And neither am I, nor are you. We are human. We aren’t reasonable. Nor is life. We are sensual, sensing, feeling beings. Long before humans were reasoning, analytic thinking creatures, we responded to life, to rhythms, to change instinctively, intuitively and skillfully, weaving together everything that happens in our experience. We still have this skill.
To be authentic human beings, means this, too: to come back to our animal selves, to sniff the scent of what’s here, to notice when we feel off, to feel our longing, and to notice when we are in tune with, or out of tune with, nature. We aren’t alive in a vacuum. We’re alive in this rich stew of the world in whatever way it’s showing itself (foggy summer, never-ending daylight, or whatever you’re experiencing). And to be fully alive is to be in relationship with all that greets you, with all of your senses, just as it is. For we exist in a world where everything is alive. Every thing.
A dancer at heart, Julie would love nothing more than to live her life and do her work from the dance floor. Ten years in the practice of 5Rhythms has opened her to the joy and wildness that is at the heart of women’s creativity. A writer, teacher, coach, and yes, dancer, Julie savors life playing with her wee grandchildren & serving the women and men who are called to work with her. Julie is happiest when she is breathing through her feet.
Where you can find Julie:
Part of the Summer of Authenticity: Fully Alive! series, now available as a free eBook!