I’m continually impressed by how much nature has to teach me. Today the lesson came through a friend of mine, a young mother overwhelmed by the constant tug-of-war between being a mom and being a woman with her own dreams and ambitions. Often she finds her dreams put aside for the sake of others.
I’m not a mother, what could I possibly know about the tug-of-war going on in this woman’s life?
Who doesn’t have some struggle going on in their lives? Mine is walking the thin line between my work and my creative pursuits. Someone else is getting up early in the morning to study for the degree they’ve always dreamed of before going to their demanding job, coming home late and studying some more. And someone else is just trying not to fall apart when a friend asks “so, how are you,” ecause they’re just damn tired from it all. Let’s face it, at some point, even in the midst of these challenges, you get hit with something else that makes you feel even more vulnerable, inadequate or worse: helpless.
And then Nature calls to me and says “watch me Darling, I’ll show you.” She always says that. Many times I’m too wrapped up in life to hear her. But when I do … oh MY! Everything changes when I turn to Nature.
Today, as I read about my friend’s plight, I heard Nature whisper “look at what I do.” So I paused, I took a breath, listened as she told me about the seasons.
Life Without Seasons
Have you ever watched a plant go from seed to flower quickly? What happens? These plants strip nutrients from the soil around them to put on one glorious show. These are the plants whose glorious fruit signals their death. That’s it, the end. They cannot come back, they are utterly spent. At best, their next form is compost.
I think this is where many of us operate these days. We’re trying to please everyone (including ourselves) at all times. We’ve been tricked by the “you can have it all” advertising and are dying trying to make it work.
Life With Seasons
Then there are the plants: trees, shrubs, flowers and fruit. These grow more slowly, and bear fruit for years. These plants sip the nutrients they are given, and provide nutrients to those around them without depletion. These plants know that they need rest. They know they need that dormant time to send their roots a little deeper and to rest before bearing fruit once more.
Sure, wouldn’t it be nice if we could just put our hopes and dreams on the shelf for the “someday.” We keep telling ourselves to be patient, this is just a phase, it won’t last. I’ve done this. I’ve worked long hours to build my business and telling my writing that I’ll get back to you … someday. The more I worked, the more I resented work for taking me away from more soul-fulfilling things.
Life Within Seasons
Nature nudges me to look deeper. “Look within the seasons” she says. I sip my tea and look deeper. There are plants that only rest briefly before putting on more fruit. And look, some of these need a little help before they can continue on. This is when we deadhead spent flowers or wait for our pollinators to come back around.
Okay. I must admit this idea feels a little less stressful. But what would it look like in a human life? I kind of sounds like “Life Without Seasons” just worded … less … panicky. Nature assures me this is different. She asks me to look again.
AHA! Cycles: big and small cycles! Even the plants that can bear many times through a season end up taking longer periods of rest at some time. It seems to be about taking advantage of moments throughout the seasons. We may not have big blocks of time where we can write (for example) while the kids are young (for example) but we can take moments to feed that desire. And those moments (I’m hoping) would get longer and longer as the children grow and develop their own lives.
It’s similar to building a business I suppose, big time and concentrated efforts at the start but eventually, as the business matures, you’d be able to step away more to spend more time with other aspects of you. That is of course if you can let the whole control thing relax!
How Seasons Could Work In Life
On the rare occasion I took time to go for a hike while I was building my business, I could have taken a slower hike. I could have taken more time to appreciate the scenery or to stop and listen to a bird I hadn’t heard before. And now, I can take moments within my day to make a note about something to write rather than hoping I’ll remember it later.
Last year, up until November I was spending alternating weeks between the city and cottage. I’d work longer days in the city to “buy more time” to write while I was away from the office. Now that I’m not spending so much time up north, I simply fill all that time with work. And I’m getting a little resentful about it. I wonder if catching these moments in a different way than in the full week’s at a time, would find me less resentful (and restless) while I work?
Would a few minutes listening to beautiful music, or meditating, or writing, while waiting to pick up your child make you a more fulfilled, less resentful parent?
Follow the Nuance of Every Single Day
I’m not really sure what these smaller seasons could look like in my life – or yours – but I am willing to take a look at it. I have an inkling that it goes beyond scheduling my time better (or more). Perhaps it becomes about following the nuances of every single day. Yikes! That probably means I’ll have to be present! Okay. I’m willing to give it a shot!
Will you? I’d love to hear if you already practice something like this or how it goes if you try it!