The Summer of Zen

When the end of May rolled around, I dubbed the upcoming summer The Summer of Zen. I imagined myself indulging in all of the luxuries of summer: tropical drinks, pool time, traveling. I pictured myself with a clear mind, an open heart and a relaxed psyche.
In spite of my high hopes, my summer didn’t exactly turn out as I had planned…or did it?
In reflecting on the past few months, I deduced that this was more like the Summer of Disappointment—several close friends abandoned me in favor of boyfriends, someone I have genuinely cared for and believed in didn’t merely let me down…he body slammed me is more the way to describe it. And after that sadness, a new relationship has turned out to be a toxic one. Don’t get me wrong. On an individual level, I had an amazing summer. New York City, Kansas City, San Diego, reconnections with old friends, time with my family and friends and hanging out with my kids—it was beautiful.
But this small group of people that claimed to care, that claimed sincerity and good character, their actions were constantly poisoning my well of happiness. How could I have a Summer of Zen with their negativity encroaching into my happy place? What a disappointment. An entire summer of disappointment. A summer of adventure laced with let-downs and hot air.
That is, until I took a closer look.
Zen is a state of enlightenment. It’s looking inward and practicing deep, thoughtful self-reflection. It’s purging the negative and acknowledging and coming to terms with all aspects of yourself, even the ones that are not so flattering. Zen is not just happiness. Zen is the journey, the art of releasing whatever causes you pain. It’s about letting this process hurt like hell, and then discovering that you’re okay.
So, yes, I have been so disappointed by people who were once very special to me, but at the end of the day, my Summer of Zen was the epitome of a Zen moment. I’ve realized that just because I care about someone doesn’t mean I need them in my life. I’ve learned that words mean nothing; actions are the only thing I can trust. And now I see that even though I’d like to believe that those I care for will treat me with the same integrity, love and respect that I have for them, this is not always reality. I now understand that oftentimes in not getting what I want, I am getting what I need—even if that means permanently letting go of those I once loved.
And now begins the real work, the hard work. Sure, these people are out of my life for the most part, but now comes the task of letting go of the anger and sadness. There is a quote that states, “Don’t water your weeds.” So that’s what I’m working on—uprooting the weeds, letting it all go and feeling confident that even though at first it may seem like life has sent me to the wrong galaxy, if I can just hold on, I will see that it’s actually a shortcut to a better place.


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Mommy, Writer, Teacher, BRCA2+ Previvor, Sports Fan, Logophile, Bibliophile, Hedonist, Perpetual Bon Vivant mixed with the Occasional Curmudgeon. you can find me on Twitter @CharIsAWriter and here at

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