Honoring the Seasons

For the past few months, I have been experiencing a lot of sadness and depression. While some of these feelings stem from thoughts that say “I am not where I thought I would be at this point in my life.” Others are fueled by the sense of
disconnect I experience over wanting to rest and yet feeling compelled to press on.

In a book entitled “Rise Sister Rise,” Rebecca Campbell discusses this experience as a disconnect in the natural cycle of our seasons.  She suggests that within our modern world, we are often expected to produce and perform as though we are all beautiful, young, vital, passionate, energetic maidens at the height of spring – irrespective of our individual times of year or time of life.

Such a cultural pattern is out of sync with the natural order of things in a healthy, balanced, eco-system: Spring is followed by summer, which is by fall, and then by winter, before we eventually return to spring.  Following these cycles, everything is born, matures, eventually decays, and then returns to that quiet space we all started from so that the cycle can begin again. This happens in nature, and as aspects of nature, this happens to us. And perhaps it is only when we are unwilling to acknowledge this natural flow of things that the depression and the sadness begins for we are creating unnecessary disharmony.  

Paraphrasing the work of Campbell, she writes that: Spring reveals the first tulip bulbs that emerge from the earth, the melting of the snow,  teaching us that we can be resilient.  Summer with its long days and cool nights, demonstrates us at our peak, as we’ve weathered the growing pains and can momentarily bask in the beautiful light and splendor of our efforts. Fall’s harvest teach us to enjoy the final fruits of our labors. While winter reminds us that at times we all need to slow down, ground, hibernate before we too can begin to emerge from the frozen ground full of life.

To aid the teachings of Campbell, I would like to offer you a phrase I came across while reading Judith Hansen Laster’s “Living Your Yoga.” The phrase is, “How human of me.

I like this phrase because it enables me to look at my life and find solace and comfort as begin to see myself more clearly: How human of me to want to remain strong, healthy, happy, and vibrant. How human of me to want to be energetic and blossoming. How human of me to want to maintain the most beautiful, young, bold, and brilliant aspects of who I think I am.

Simultaneously, this phrase enables me to remember the natural cycles that we all – as facets of nature – go through. How human of me to experience periods of growth and prosperity. How human of me to need to rest and let parts of me die and decay so that something new can be born.

So the question, the invitation that I have for you, the one I am working to answer for myself is this:  What is the natural cycle that you are in? Is there any disconnect from where you are and where you think you “should” be? If so, can you give yourself a break by acknowledging your own humanity, your own natural ebbs and flows with life? Can you trust, that there is no where else that you have to be other than right here, right now, in this moment, with whatever may be present (or absent) for you? There is nothing to be “fixed,” nothing to be “corrected.”

If you can, I encourage you to use this mantra – “How Human of Me” – whenever you find yourself at odds with what is and simply observe the changes that occur within and around you as a result.