This month we talk about the Hermit, who represents going within for R&R, truth-seeking, and introspection. Having this timing out for August is interesting. June and July end up being such busy months of finishing things up, landscaping, planting gardens, planning vacations, and September is a full-on launch back into the usual schedule. August, with it's sultry air, lazy beach days, and margaritas on the patio is the perfect time to slow down and spend some time with yourself.

Stillness is a strange concept. Around us, we usually see it as an absence of something; the trees aren't moving because there's no wind, or the water of the lake is still because it's too early for swimmers and boaters and the air is hot and heavy. Even at home--maybe you're finally getting to lie down and read a book because your kids are at camp and you don't need to cook dinner because there's leftovers from the night before.

Usually it's hard to find or make the time to focus on ourselves. Even on an airplane we have to be reminded to oxygenate ourselves first in case of emergency. In normal life, we usually push ourselves to work and take care of everyone else, looking at personal development as some kind of luxury. But we pay the price in exhaustion, stress-related chronic illness, and unnecessary unhappiness.

Time invested in yourself is not selfish or silly, and it doesn't need to take a long time. People often find that meditating even for five minutes seems like forever. An afternoon spent on the beach can totally revitalize you. Relaxing isn't necessarily introspection, though, and if you're not into journaling and get overwhelmed at the bookstore it can be hard to figure out how to access your inner landscape. If you like your introspection a little more planned, and books are your thing, here are some of my favorites for pleasant, summer, self-help:

  • find you soul's purpose (sic) by Janet Conner
  • Crossing to Avalon, by Jean Bolen
  • Steering by Starlight, by Martha Beck
  • The Book of Awakening, by Mark Nepo
  • Inspired and Unstoppable, by Tama Kieves