Category Archives: Seasons

The Next Season

This is day #6 of being with parent #2 as she makes her slow exit from this life.

It’s been an important and exhausting time.  I am so grateful to be here with her, the woman who gave me birth.   And, as anyone who has maintained a long vigil with someone who is very ill knows, it’s a challenging road.

Today I was feeling very low energy.  I was tired, sad, overwhelmed.  Are these the correct words?  I don’t even know that I can accurately categorize how I was feeling.  I only know that I was depleted.

Fortunately other family members were going to be spending time with my mother this morning, so it gave me the opportunity to indulge in some alone time.  I am one of those people who needs a lot of time by myself, and I hadn’t had much solitude this week.

I walked to the side of my brother’s property and down the long leaf-strewn path toward the edge of a beautiful stream.  I found a rock in a pocket of sun and sat myself down upon it.  And that’s all I did.

I didn’t have the energy for anything else.  I didn’t pray; I didn’t prod myself to change or shift or buck up; I didn’t try to figure anything out.  I just sat.

I felt weighted.  I felt listless.  My spark was gone.

I just sat.

Gradually, eventually, the world began to work its magic on me.   After maybe ten or twenty minutes, I had the energy to lift my head.  I noticed more trees had changed color since the last time I’d walked to this particular spot.  There was one tree with beautiful bright coral-colored leaves.  And the sky was a beautiful cloudless blue.

I began to notice leaves dancing through the air, letting go of the trees onto which they had held themselves for many months, and spiraling toward the creek which gently carried them downstream.

I became somewhat conscious of the beautiful metaphor unfolding around me, but mostly I became aware that my energy was ever so slightly beginning to rise.

The world is a beautiful place.   When I’m sad or tired, it’s harder to focus on the beauty.  But it’s there, just waiting to uplift me whenever I take the time to immerse myself in it.

Can I help my mother release her grasp on this beautiful life so she can embrace the next even more beautiful one?  I don’t know.  That is my prayer.  My prayer is that she be at peace with the change of the seasons.  Not just spring and summer, but fall and winter, too.

We cannot stop the wheel from turning.

And there is no end in a wheel.  There is only the next season.

October 2013 583


Winter’s Solstice, Winter’s Rest

November 2014 127

Today is the Solstice.  Tonight is the longest night of the year.

Do you like the nighttime?  Do you enjoy sleeping and dreaming?  Or do you resist it?  Do you like to spend time musing, daydreaming, reflecting, conjuring ideas, mulling things over?

I suspect if you grew up in any of the industrialized countries of this world, even reading the list “musing, daydreaming…” stirred up feelings of guilt or discomfort or maybe even disgust.  We certainly don’t seem to value these ways of using our time.

Who among us does not recall a teacher scolding a student for daydreaming, for being distracted?  Have any of us had parents who encouraged us to lie in bed or lollygag in a field and simply think, watch clouds, dream?  The very idea is almost laughable.

By and large we live in a yang world.  Yang to the max.  We respect the energies associated with the masculine, with the left brain, with the mind.  We do not honor the feminine, the more inward processes, the heart, the intuition, the creative juices associated with art, music, storytelling.  No, we teach people – both overtly and covertly – to achieve, to go go go, to think rationally, to DO.

But this is not a yang time of year.  Winter is a time for going within.  Where I live in Colorado, there are more than fourteen hours of darkness today.  This amount of nighttime invites us to sleep longer, to nestle into warm blankets, to turn off alarms and sink deeper into our dreams.

Of course many of us have jobs that don’t allow for that kind of indulgence.  But what if our world did allow us to hibernate more in the winter?  What if we all had shorter work hours in the winter?  What if, like our ancestors, we realized the harvest was in and it was not yet time for planting?  What if we gave ourselves permission to rest more during the winter?  Do you recognize how valuable that could be?

Here is what I see happening if we structured our world in such a way that we allowed more rest in the winter:

  • We’d feel less stress.
  • Both our bodies and our minds would have time to restore themselves.
  • We’d have more time to reflect on our lives and our world.  Are we happy with the direction we’re going in?  Do we like our lives?  What about this world we live in?  Is it acceptable the way it is?  What would we do differently if we could?
  • There would be less chance of us catapulting into a direction that was unwise.   If our go, go, go energy were allowed to shift into a rest, rest, rest energy, there would be time to evaluate whether or not the actions we were taking during the rest of the year were wise.
  • During this time of darkness and dreaming, new ideas would be born.
  • There would be a natural rising of energy as the daylight hours increased.  We might not have to force ourselves to become energized with caffeine or alarm clocks or whatever.  With the natural shifting of seasons, our bodies would naturally respond differently.  When the sun would start to rise earlier in the day, our bodies would be more eager to be awake.  (This would be true only if we truly allowed them more rest in the winter, of course.)

Does reading about this cause you to sigh with a feeling of wistfulness?  Oh, if only….  If only we had a saner schedule like this.  Can’t you see the world become a bit saner if we simply gave ourselves permission to dial back a little for a few months out of the year?

Maybe your boss will not be receptive to you cutting back your workday, but can you at least consider going to bed earlier?  Let your body get more rest.  For goodness sake (and for your health’s sake) don’t wait until the 11:00 news or the David Letterman Show to go to bed.  Can you recognize that perhaps you are tired earlier than that?  At the first hint of tiredness, tuck yourself in.  See what happens when you allow yourself more sleep, more dreaming, more rest.

It just may change your world.