Summer heat

So, the thermostat on my car read 45 degrees.

It was stupid hot. And seeing the numbers on thermostat somehow made me feel the intensity of the heat even more. There’s a horror in this type of hot. The dry, north wind scratching at your throat every time you take a breath. The heaviness of the sun’s rays pressing your melting body into the earth. It was a conscious effort to simply stand upright. Before we were in the car, we had hidden inside behind curtains and lay under fans on the floor. We listened to the radio – tuned to 774 – until it confirmed the road was a safe to take us where we wanted to go.

We cranked the car’s air conditioner to full. It took until Lara before it started to cool us down. That’s nearly 40 minutes of sweaty legs in shorts stuck to hot leather seats. Crying solves nothing. Just risks dehydrating you even more.

I was in the left lane of the freeway. A sign ahead warned me to begin to merge right. So I looked in my mirror, did a quick head-check and saw a silver Audi sedan behind my back right bumper. Plenty of room for the required merge, I indicated and leaned right on the wheel. This was met with a revving of the silver Audi engine. As they sped up from behind, it made me slow down. In fact, it made me slow down enough to drop from 5th gear to 3rd. It required strong brakes which woke my sweaty, sleeping smalls and strong language from which I had to hold my tongue. I gripped hard with my sweaty hands and my boiling temper onto my steering wheel. And I began my planned freeway revenge towards the wanker now driving in front.

There was a somewhat smugness in my next head house-keeping move. Because in fact, in no time at all, I just kept driving my car. The speed lifted and we returned up to 5th gear. The air conditioner kicked in and began to cool my thighs. Without much effort, I thought – as the first sutra explains – recognise the other person is you. And the driver in front of me simply has more of his wanker-aspect happening today. Meaning I could get all caught up in the heat of the moment with it’s anger and frustration and meet hime as a wanker. Letting my blood boil in this stupid, crazy heat. Or, I can accept this driver’s act of wankedness as an expression of his self at this time and in this moment.

But not let it be an expression of mine.

Think yin forward folds, inversion hip openers and metta meditation.

This coming week marks this year’s summer solstice. The word “solstice” means simply “to stand still.” It not only marks the turning of the sun, but also the start of our true summer. We will receive our longest day of light and our shortest day of dark at the sun’s turning point. With it comes to a place of stillness as the earth briefly ceases it’s orbit around it’s largest star. This represents a space where we move as a collective into a new cycle. It’s a potent and ripe time to reflect on life’s events and on life’s direction. To observe how life relentlessly presents itself to us again and again and again.
Summer solstice occurs in a time when the dominant dosha or constitution is “pitta” or fire. We feel this in ourselves at times when things are hot and , intense, penetrating and sharp – kinda like when you read your car thermostat is at 45 degrees, your legs are stuck to your seat and a wanker cuts you off on the Geelong-Melbourne road. When pitta overrides us, we can feel fiery, short-tempered and argumentative. Like wanting to roll your sunroof back, scream some obscenities and flip your middle finger in the air – making yourself feel better you feel you have been wronged.

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” Deepak Chopra.

I followed the wanker in the Audi for a few minutes. Before I realised even though we shared the same road, he just wasn’t there anymore. It was still stupid hot outside and we still listened tentatively to 774, but I was somehow comfortable in my sweaty seat. I was comfortable in my tired smile. But most importantly, even in the middle of this stupid hot heat:
I was comfortable in myself.

Happy summer solstice. Merry Christmas and safe holidays. Thanks so much for reading this year.

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