We may not even have realized it, but half the year has already gone by and still so much to be done. Now, with the coming of June, we can look forward to longer days and more time to do the things we love to do.
When I think of June, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream comes to mind with images of woodlands, fairies and magic juice of flowers. Midsummer festivities are widely celebrated across Europe even today. In Sweden, Midsummer is even celebrated as a national holiday.
The celebration of the Summer Solstice is a very ancient practice, dating back to pre-Christian times. Originally a fertility festival, midsummer has many customs and rituals associated with nature and with the hope of a good harvest the coming fall/autumn. In Norway and Sweden, Midsummer's Eve is celebrated with a bonfire and a procession.
For Danes, Midsummer's Eve is also celebrated as Sankt Hans aften (St. John's Eve). This takes place on the eve of June 23 when straw witches are burnt on bonfires. This commemorates the Church's witch burnings of the 16th and 17th century Denmark.
The Scandinavian Midsummer traditions stem from pagan times, showing the defeat of darkness to the powers of the sun god.
Back home, June is the time of intense heat, of storms and pre-monsoon showers; of increasing levels of humidity and of being pulled down by the weather. Of sweat and thirst, of tall glasses of cool drinks and tinkling of ice, of thin cotton clothes in soft pastel shades. Of laburnum flowering in all its golden glory and gulmohar blooming as bright as a forest aflame.
It's important to keep your cool and not let anything affect your health this summer. The one taking care of you the most should be YOU. Health is not just about physical well-being but peace of mind too. In the race to grab the pot of gold, we sometimes forget to admire the colors of the rainbow. At the end of the day it's important to sit back and ask ourselves - is the stress worth it? Is there a way we can balance our professional and personal lives to achieve that happy equilibrium? What can we do to be a happier person?
June is also a month of reflection for me when I take stock of the months gone past and plan for those to follow.
And June is also the month of my birth. I guess that is why it's so special.
I close with a quote by Hal Borland, the famous American writer: "Summer is a promissory note signed in June, its long days spent and gone before you know it." So make the most of what this month has to offer. What better time to start than now!