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Consciousness Concierge Volume 12

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

“I’m as fine as wine in the summertime.” ~Maya Angelou in an interview at age 81

This was originally sent to our Consciousness Concierge subscribers. Want to receive each carefully curated volume straight to your inbox? Sign up for the list here.

As the summer solstice gently opens us up to more warmth and more sun, I’ve been thinking about how summer is also a state of mind: of being truly and fully open to delight in all its forms. Summer invites us to relax and revel in the sounds and sensations of the world around us.

One thing I love about living in Chicago is the enthusiasm with which we savor our warm weather months. At the first whiff of spring, the city comes alive with palpable energy and joyful abandon. We take nothing for granted weather-wise in the Windy City, and as a result I believe we notice and appreciate the gifts of summer with a kind of urgency that is almost bittersweet.

So what better time to revel in pleasures big and small, by ourselves and in community with each other? ALTAR is all about honoring the natural rhythms of the seasons and our lives. As such, we are intentionally paring back our summer offerings a bit, recognizing that all of us want to be out and about enjoying summer’s bounty. We’ll be here for daily coworking, but we’re skipping the August Open House and scheduling fewer programs.

However, we’ve also decided to play with something new this summer: ALTAR Adventure Club - informal meetups in green and interesting spots around the city… And, perhaps eventually, to offer curated and inspiring adventures farther afield. Interested in adventuring with us?

In the meantime, here are some tastes of and reflections on delight to set the mood for the season. I hope you enjoy them!

Sending Solstice Love,


Song: Walking On Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves

This song is pure energy and euphoria. It’s basically impossible to stay in a bad mood when you’re listening to it, because it truly captures the spirit of the title. The lyrics may technically be about romantic love, but I think you can make it about self love, love of the world, or love of the moment. It makes me want to dance in that totally uninhibited, childlike way — kicking out my legs and waving my arms.

I’m walking on sunshine, whoa,

and don’t it feel good!

A Bit of Wisdom: Glimmers by Helen Marie

In this little bullet point summary, therapist Helen Marie gives us the definition of a “glimmer,” a stimulus that elicits positive, calm feelings, and even the sensation of awe — the opposite of a trigger, which is something that sparks stress, trauma, or other negative feelings.

Like our triggers, our glimmers can be so specific to us. Delight is universal, but it’s also very personal. In the caption to her Instagram post, Helen Marie gives us some examples of glimmers, like “a sunset, the stars in the sky, a beam of dancing light, a smile from a stranger…your favorite song…a moment of peace/solitude amidst the chaos.”

It might give you some positive energy simply to answer this question: what are some of your glimmers?

Once again, I have to credit Glennon, Abby & Sister for offering up an interview that changed my mind and my behavior.

Much like Glennon, when I first heard about The Book of Delights, I was skeptical and honestly a bit dismissive. An author writing an essay about delight every day for a year seemed somehow too obvious or “lite.” But I tuned in anyway for the love of the pod, and to my surprise, Ross Gay “had me at hello,” as it were.

Within the first five minutes, he hooked me with his working definition of joy, “the feeling that we have when we actively practice being entangled with one another,” followed by a compelling argument for why joy is perhaps the most serious thing we should be attending to. The interview with Ross Gay inspired a follow-up episode where the “tri-pod” share the unexpected results of their own week-long delight practice. It’s even more delightful than the interview itself!

I am leaving for vacation this week with the book downloaded to my iPad, determined to notice and share moments of delight with the ones I love. I’m hoping what happened to Ross Gay, as described in the preface to The Book of Delights (below), will happen to me (and you if you try it):

“A month or two into this project, the delights were calling to me: write about me, write about me! Because it is rude not to acknowledge your delights. I’d tell them that though they might not become essayettes, they were still important and I was grateful to them. Which is to say, I felt my life to be more full of delight. Not without sorrow or fear or pain or loss, but more full of delight. I also learned this year that my delight grows much like joy and love when I share it.”

Interactive Resource: NPR’s Joy Generator

Through a series of interactive “stories,” the Joy Generator treats you to tastes of cheer, comfort, and pleasure while also explaining some of the science behind them. I invite you to click to get swept away by sounds, be given a space to freely draw, look at pictures of puppies, and more…

ALTAR is partnering with Bookshop to recommend some of our favorite books to you. Bookshop is Certified Climate Neutral, a Certified B Corporation, and supports Independent Bookstores. If you purchase a book using our links, we will receive 10% of your purchase.

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