Working With the Wisdom of the Seasons

Nature’s response to the changing seasons offers us wisdom about how we can make changes in our own lives. These strategies, which have evolved over the eons, can guide us to the most effective way to produce the results we are looking for.

Although our society advocates pushing forward to get results, nature has a different way—-a way of working with each season rather than against it.

— In Fall the goal is to acknowledge that it’s time to let go of the old to prepare for the new.

— In Winter our focus is to retreat and reflect on what we want in the coming year.

— In Spring we take action to make our vision reality.

— In Summer we celebrate our successes.

You can use the wisdom of the seasons when the calendar indicates a particular season OR when your personal journey takes you through a Season. Let me explain…any time you make a change in your own life, your journey takes you through several phases that mirror the seasons.

For instance, if you are in the midst of a career change (or any other big transition), it’s likely you are in Winter. As you wrestle with your options you may feel confused, lost, and tired. You may feel awkward and uncomfortable in highly social events. When you don’t know who you are or where you are going, socializing questions like “What do you do?” “What kind of job are you looking for?” set you on edge. If given the option, you’d much rather take time for yourself right now.

As we officially enter winter this week, use these strategies from nature to ease your own journey toward spring and your new beginnings.

Hibernating –

One of the ways animals weather the storms of winter is to burrow in. They slow their bodily functions and their activity to conserve energy and wait out the cold, wintery months.

If you are feeling buffeted from the storms of change around you, take some time for yourself. Set aside some quiet time during this holiday season to take care of yourself. Although those around you may be encouraging you to participate in holiday festivities, you may not be in a particularly festive mood. Honor where you are in your journey. Respect your personal desire to be alone or with close friends this holiday. This phase won’t last forever. When you are clear about your future, you’ll be ready to rejoin the world.

Camouflaging –

When animals must be out and about during winter, their coats often change to help them blend into their surroundings.

If you do need to attend social gatherings, you might feel safer using some camouflage techniques. Rather than drawing attention to yourself and the fact that you aren’t sure where you are headed with your career, find ways to participate in the gathering that shield you from questions and attention. Offer to help out in the kitchen or to take care of the fire. Associate with the people you feel comfortable with, those who understand where you are right now. Do your best to avoid people who make you feel vulnerable or uneasy.

Staying Safe –

Animals that have migrated during the Fall months are now safe in a milder environment, which allows them to avoid the deepest, darkest storms of winter.

If you can, you may want to consider “migrating” for the holidays! Plan a getaway so that you are far away from the situations that feel unsafe at the moment. Even a day outing can do the trick. Although people may react to a change in tradition, you can choose to explain why you are going away or just let people know your plans. In either case, plan to go somewhere that feels safe and comfortable to you.

Indigenous people around the world, who are in touch with the natural cycle of the seasons, take time to pause, reflect, and celebrate during the darkest time of the year. The focus of their ceremonies is often the return of the light as the Solstice passes.

As you take time for yourself during the next few weeks, consider reflecting on what’s absolutely true for you.

— What are you passionate about?

— How do you want to spend your time?

— What impact would you like to have on those around you and on the planet?

— What work environment is best for you?

Don’t worry about HOW you are going to achieve these goals. Instead focus on thinking expansively about you, your passions, and your impact. When you know where you are going, doors and paths have a way of opening up in ways you can’t anticipate at this moment.

Resist the urge to leap into action right away. Allow your ideas and visions to incubate, grow and evolve. It’s likely you’ll notice that your list of ideas weaves together to create an even larger vision.