Encapsulating the summer through your senses / Stephanie Watanabe of The Girl Who Knows August 07 2015

As we get ready to welcome Satchi's 1st day of Kindergarden (next Monday!!!), I can't help to feel slightly nostalgic about the end of our summer approaching. For me Stephanie's story came just in time to immerse myself in the joyful and carefree days summer brings to our life. 

I am hoping that we will have more beach and pool days with our girls ahead before Los Angeles summer "actually" ends sometime between September to October... To have a chance to encapsulate the feeling of summer using our senses... by being present and mindful of our moments today.  

I hope your summer days also continue and you get to use Stephanie's advice to savor each moment! 


With summer drawing to a close we might be reluctant to say goodbye to the carefree feeling that summer brings. Even though there’s a natural slowing down of things as Fall approaches, there is a way to have this feeling of lightness and joy year ‘round. How? By looking inside of yourself.

Life’s happy moments are indeed moments (they're fleeting), so it's important to find ways of filling yourself with joy from the inside out. That way, no matter what is going on outside of you, you are able to have that feeling of peace, joy and happiness anytime you wish. Wouldn’t this come in especially handy when life seems to throw you a curveball (i.e. the kids get sick, family unexpectedly comes to visit, your computer crashes, etc.)?
The simplest way to harness the easy breezy carefree attitude, is to use your six senses. Most of us have full use of our senses, and yet they are often on auto-pilot. We drive to work without noticing the details that pass us by. We eat dinner in front of the TV. And we listen to our partner talk about their day, but we’re only halfheartedly paying attention. It’s time to put an end to mindlessly walking through life and instead, cultivate more presence and joy — all year long. Sound good?
Here are 5 tips for using your senses to feeling carefree (anytime of year):
  • SEE: Since it’s August, the summer nights are still lingering. It’s the perfect time to step outside after dinner and take in the fullness of the summer sun as it goes down for the evening. Sunsets (and sunrises) are magical. They remind us that we are alive, part of this natural world and capable of seeing beauty around us in every moment.

    This week, make some time to go outside and take in the sunset. See the colors. The patterns in the sky. The textures. Notice all of the little details that are so easy to miss. How does it makes you feel? Take a mental picture, so that you can refer back to that magical moment in the coming weeks and months.
  • SMELL: Scent is inextricably linked to memory. For most of us, we can tie a specific smell to an event in our past (things like: Christmas dinner, being at Grandma’s house or playing in the woods at summer camp). Summer is the season of watermelons, lemonade, fresh grass, garden herbs, juicy tomatoes and the unmistakable scent of a local swimming pool.

    This week, when you encounter one of your favorite summer scents, stop and really take it in. Let the smell of what’s in front of you imprint in your mind. That way, when winter rolls around and you’re feeling heavier and far from the lightness of the summer months, you can grab a lemonade or some herbs at the store, and it will take your right back to that moment in time when life was sweet and carefree. 
  • HEAR: Crickets. Uncontrollable laughs. Children playing. Meat cooking on the grill. Music. These are the sounds of summer. Part of what makes the summer months so enjoyable is the cacophony of melodies that can be heard in neighborhoods near and far.

    A great way to capture the sounds of summer is to create a playlist. Think of all the different instruments, artists, bands, lyrics, soundscapes that invoke the season, and make an online playlist that will allow you to revisit that feeling any time. Here’s a peak at mine if you need some inspiration.
  • TOUCH: The feeling of grass on your bare legs. The sensation of water rushing over you as you slide down into the pool. Picking tomatoes from your garden. Our sense of touch helps connect us to those moments in life that really matter. The ones that light you up from the inside out.

    One way that is useful to keep your sense of touch active all year is to get out in nature. Gardening, hiking and nature walks are all ways you can physically touch and interact with the natural world. No matter the weather or the season, spend a little time outdoors each day to reconnect to that feeling of joy you experienced during the summer.
  • TASTE: Whether it’s the flavor of a ripe summer strawberry, BBQ sauce, a guava popsicle or an iced chai, our sense of taste is probably one of the most accessible markers of time and memory. As this season fades and Fall begins, think about ways you can experience the taste of summer anytime of year.

    Maybe it’s by getting some strawberry ice cream in the dead of winter or baking a peach pie using those canned peaches you made. There’s no rule that says we can’t experience the simple joys and tastes now - all year. Give it a go (and save a slice of pie for me)!
  • FEEL: An often overlooked sense is our sixth sense or intuition. It’s that “gut feeling” you get when something is/isn’t right. It’s that inner feeling when you just know something - often, unexplainably. Spend some time in the next few days with your journal (the perfect use for your Midori Traveler’s Notebook and pen) and answer the following questions:
    • What inspired me the most this summer?
    • What are a few memories from this summer that I never want to forget?
    • What are a few ways I can experience the carefree joy of summer, all year?
Listen for what comes up and write it down. There are no wrong answers. Whatever pops into your head, jot it down. This is your intuition guiding you. It might feel silly or like you’re making up the answers. But trust that you have the answers. Trust that you know how to cultivate happiness anytime you want, anytime of year. Know that deep within you lies a never-ending source of joy. You just have to take the time to be still, get quiet and listen to what your intuition is trying to tell you.
I hope that you’ll enjoy taking your senses on a joy-ride in the days and weeks to come. And I look forward to seeing how you’re able to create your own sense of summer — anytime of year!

- Stephanie Watanabe  / The Girl Who Knows

Text provided by Stephanie Watanabe of The Girl Who Knows
All photos provided by Baum-kuchen