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Summer Vacation: untethered and unplugged

Imagination and DiscoveryIt is officially summer vacation for us.  I decided to contemplate summer, and what I want for my family this summer.  I am looking for one of those good ole’ fashion kind of summers where the children run barefoot and drink water from the garden hose. 

Untethered and unplugged are the criteria I am using to define our summer vacation.   I suppose that is the current lingo for the good ole’ summer days of care-less and fancy-free.  It is a no strings attached way of life.     

To learn with no strings attached. 

This is what summer camp is made for.  Doing what you love and loving what you do.  We have discovered some awesome camps to foster the love of learning.  Emily (8) has chosen Art Camp, Harry Potter for Muggles Camp, and Horsemanship Camp.  Anna (6) has chosen Art Camp, Spanish Camp, YMCA Camp Lakewood, and most fondly Horsemanship Camp.  Henry (4) has chosen NeuroFit and Spanish Camp.         

me and my kayakFor me, I plan to learn to row at St. Louis Rowing Club, and learn to surf in Costa Rica.  Just for the fun of it.  I like the challenge of something new, and I find that the more opportunities I create, the more opportunities that come my way.  New experiences in one area of my life, lead to new experiences in all areas of my life.      

A summer of learning with no strings attached will surely include some great reads.  Our list of leisurely reading with the children includes:  The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, Savvy by Ingrid Law, and The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages.

My reading list includes:  Children of Promise by Dr. Rand Olson, Conscious Parents by Shefali Tsabary, Parenting for Social Change by Teresa Graham Brett, Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh.

To live with no strings attached.

soft shelled turtleThe most obvious way to untether and unplug is to go outside and be in nature.  Open space, fresh air, water, and sunshine.  Sounds like all the necessary components of life.  Exercise, imagination, and discovery come in their most pure form in nature. 

I find my children to be the easiest-going when we are in nature.  There is nothing to fight about or compete for.   Nature reminds us to slow down.  It is care-less and worry-free.  We enjoy camping, hiking, biking, picnicking, and our newest adventure of geocaching.  You can certainly find something to tweak the interest of your children.

siestaOne of the most sacred times in our home is quiet time, our afternoon siesta.  This is a quiet time for all ages.  It may include napping, and most certainly dreaming.  The unplugged events in our home include reading, writing, and daydreaming.  It is a necessary part of our day, to refocus and recharge.  We play hard, the days are longer, and we stay up later.  We use the quiet time to reset our minds and bodies.            

It may seem paradoxical and certainly unconventional – we must unplug to charge and untether to connect.  

To love with no strings attached.   

The art of loving with no strings attached is to eliminate the expectations we tether to ourselves and others.  When we raise our awareness to recognize the environment is neutral, we cut the ties of expectation.  This awareness comes to us in moments of mindfulness.  Only in the present moment can we live an untethered life and love with no strings attached.    

Conditional love comes from our expectations of ourselves and others:

  • We are sad because we weren’t invited to the party or mad because we were left out of the group.  This is our fear to compare and compete, causing us to feel shamed and unworthy.   
  • We are embarrassed because our children act improperly or dress inappropriately.  By whose standards?  This is our fear to please and conform expecting our children to act and dress a certain way.
  • We are angry because our spouse is doing what he wants to do and not doing what we think he should be doing.  Por que?  This is our fear to achieve and perfect expecting our spouse to accomplish certain tasks. 

And so it is, only those closest to us – the ones who matter most – receive our conditional love.  With expectations, we set them up for failure and our own disappointment. 

My biggest intention for this summer is to untether myself and others from the strings of expectations that bind me to fear and the subsequent disappointment.  The only time to love is in the present.  Memories of the past and expectations of the future are not reality.  They are tethers that restrict me from living and loving whole-heartedly.   

Here are the simple tools to cut the strings and untether:

  1. Return the mind to the body.
  2. Recognize the environment and circumstances are neutral.
  3. I choose my emotions. 
  4. Love is available in this moment.

fear-less AnnaThis could be the purest definition of summer love.  To love with no strings attached – to eliminate expectations and offer unconditional love.  This is a fear-less life.   

The first step to create your summer romance of learning, living, and loving with no strings attached is to give a moment to think about your summer and what you want it to look like for your family.  Plan now so you create it by design and not by responding to circumstances that bind you to fear.  Untethered and unplugged are the keys to a care-less and fancy-free  summer vacation sure to inspire the joy of learning, the art of living, and loving with no strings attached.

Live ~ Love ~ Laugh,


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