|Photo by jaimekop on Flickr|
Recently, a colleague of mine who was excited about a new project, remarked, as a side note, that she wanted to temper her desire to jump right in - with her awareness that winter is coming - because winter is a time for slowing, not growing.
As she said this, I could feel it's truth resonating within me, like a half-forgotten but familiar knowing.
The knowing was that, whether I am aware of it or not, I continue to be connected to the rhythms of the Earth and the cycle of the seasons as they pass through me - and that I am better served when I go with this flow rather than against it.
Looking back at the last few months through this lens, I realized that I experienced a summer of tremendous creativity and movement, of stretching myself into new ways of being in the world and in my relationships. I also noted that, although I had been part of a challenging year-long Leadership Program since last January, the first buds of inner growth seemed to appear in the spring - and that my organism really revved into action in June.
Now, after a summer of expansive action and growth, I find myself in a place of cross-roads and questions, of uncertainty about my future and my heart. For me, this place of not-quite-knowing is scary; the antidote seems clear - pick a project, any project, and move into it with gusto. Lose myself in the creation of something new to keep the fear at bay.
Instead, hearing my colleague's voice, I invite myself to notice - really notice - the view outside my window, where leaves of maroon, vermilion and ochre droop with the weight of a chill gray rain.
I invite myself to slow down and feel the rhythms already inside me, to feel the natural cycle happening all around me. What would I be doing right now if I went with - instead of against - that rhythm - if I allowed myself to flow with what is, rather than using my thoughts and actions to over-ride it?
What comes up when I ask this is not growth and expansion but harvesting and fortifying.
What comes up is a vision of squirrels collecting nuts and chipmunks lining their burrows. What comes up is a memory of my grandmother picking, blanching and canning, of glass jars appearing in neat rows on the kitchen shelves every evening. What comes up is the site of my grandfather chopping wood behind the shed, or walking slowly around the perimeter of the house with an old metal tool box: sealing, tightening, smoothing, caulking, insulating, readying. Or my mother, going through last season's clothes and dog-eared magazines, clearing the house up of things we do not need, and giving away that which others can use.
What comes up is the realization that this vision, far from being some old fashioned homesteading fancy, is a road-map to accessing more of my inner resources, to living in closer alignment with what already is.
What this road-map tells me is that, where I am right now, it is Autumn, a time to:
- harvest all that I have been learning and experiencing, at such high velocity, this summer;
- sort, clarify, and store up my new-found knowledge and skills for use in the long winter months ahead;
- prepare my inner home for the eventuality of cold rain, rough winds, winter storms: batten my inner hatches, insulate my walls, collect enough fuel to last into the spring;
- clear out, with love, what I do not need, and give away what may be useful to others;
- ready myself, emotionally, for a time of contemplation, reflection, rest and rejuvenation in the winter months ahead.
If there is a part of you that resonates with this vision, that feels some relief at the possibility of surrendering to what is, I invite you to take a look - a real look - outside your window, to consider what season is upon you in whatever part of the world you are in.
Is it a time for:
- birthing/ hatching / flowering;
- expansion/ exploration/ stretching;
- harvesting/ preparing/ fortifying; or
- resting/ reflecting/ rejuvinating?
And what would it be like to follow the call of these rhythms, to go with them rather than against them, to ride them rather than over-ride them, to go with the power of the flow within you?