Issue 7: May, 2012
I’m three sessions into my eight week Spring Into Change group, and I’m celebrating again the choice I made to give up on doing a “Creating Your New Year” group starting in January, and instead, wait until April to facilitate a group designed to help people step into making change. I love the energy the participants are bringing to their own discovery processes, and to the group as a whole; lots of enthusiasm and a great readiness to jump in and create the changes they want.
If we want to use our own energy well, we need to know what energies are present, what we can align with.
I wrote briefly in December about how crazy it always seems to me that in this culture we designate the middle of the fallow, quiet winter to make “resolutions” about how we are going to change. Today, I want to reflect more deeply on the rhythms of the seasons, the energies they invite in us, and how we can use an awareness of those energies and rhythms to support us in making good choices about how to focus our own time and energy.
My reflections here draw on the understanding of the seasons held in Chinese medicine*, and may be a bit different than what you are used to. I invite you to get curious about what this lens might bring you.
Working With the Energy of the Seasons
Since we are now immersed in spring, we’ll start where we are.
Looking from the perspective of Chinese medicine, spring is “wood”– time for envisioning what you want, and moving toward it/taking action. The energy it brings is:
- Gentle, tender, and vigorous, like a small shoot pushing up through cold ground
- Resilient and flexible – like bamboo, which is always bending, look in each moment like it is not getting what it wants/is accommodating what it’s circumstances bring, but over a year, looks like it always gets what it wants. It bends without breaking, reaches to the sun, is hollow/empty, and therefore capable of being filled with what it needs.
- Impatient – ready for change after a long winter of little if any apparent movement
Notice: what is the energy of spring calling forth in you right now?
The Other Seasons:
Each season brings it’s own energy.
Summer is “fire” – bringing joy, warmth, abundance, and generosity. Summer, with it’s long hours of light, gives us a sense of spaciousness, of having extra time to be with our family and friends, to do the things we love. There is an upwelling of enthusiasm, a sense of the heart opening to the warmth around us.
Late summer is “earth” – harvest time, bringing energy that is grounding, stable, nurturing, motherly. We are harvesting the fruits of our labors over the other seasons, gathering both food for the winter and seed for next year. This is true in the hands-on world of fruits and vegetables, trees and vines, and also in the internal world of planning and decision-making, dreaming and taking action. Late summer invites us to notice and take in the gifts we have created in our lives.
Autumn is “metal” – its energy is about letting go, shedding grief and resentments, shaking off the dead wood, seeing beyond what is superficial, connecting with spirit/moving closer to the divine. It’s a time for clearing out our external and internal cupboards, releasing what we no longer need in order to make room for what we want to invite in. As the leaves fall away and let us see the branches, we can use the energy of autumn to help us reflect on who we are at our essence, and on what old commitments and patterns we want to prune away or put in the compost.
Winter is “water” – bringing quiet, fallowness, rest and restoration, Winter is time for filling up our internal reservoirs, so we’ll have them to nurture our growth in the spring, for allowing the work to go underground, trusting our sub-conscious to be doing its invisible work, building the strong roots that will let us burst forth in the spring.
What Season is It Now?
Each of the seasons come and go, and come again—in the world, in ourselves, in each goal and task. Sometimes this all lines up very nicely; we feel in alignment with the energies in the larger world. But sometimes that is not so true. Sometimes it is spring outside, but autumn inside our hearts. It is important to honor and trust the season we are actually holding in our bodies, the energy alive in us now, rather than trying to force ourselves to be somewhere we are not.
The same is true of particular tasks in our lives. Sometimes the energy around painting the house is in spring, but the energy around writing the novel is in winter. In this case, it’s going to be a lot easier to get the painting done than to push your self to write 5000 words a day. Maybe the work on the novel is all happening subconsciously right now, and the only external work is to jot down whatever ideas occur to you as they show up, trusting that as the novel-writing season turns, that fallow-time will pay off and words will burst forth.
Notice where you are in each task, in your own life: what season is it?
I invite you to try moving through your life this way, to let go of the hard and fast expectations and the “shoulds” and instead feel into the energy present in yourself and the world around you, the internal and external seasons, and discover how that energy can support you as you invite yourself to grow into who you want to be.
So what would that look like?
One place to start is to try this:
- Make a list of at least three goals or tasks that are in process in your own life right now.
- Notice: what season are they in? Are they in alignment with the season in the larger world, or are they in some other part of the cycle?
- What energy are they asking for right now? Spring, full of action and enthusiasm? Winter, needing to lay fallow for a while? Autumn, gifting you with fruits and seeds for the next phase? Summer or late summer?
- What is it actually time for? What would it feel like, and look like, to support each of these tasks or goals in ways that honor where they each are, energetically, in the seasons?
Try acting from this, and notice what happens.
*In writing this article, I drew on years of informal conversations with my acupuncturist, David Naimon, and from Mary Horsley’s book The Enneagram for the Spirit. All interpretations and errors are, of course, my own.
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Summer Retreat: Accessing Our Own Wisdom
You do have the wisdom you need, but sometimes it’s hard to reach it, especially in those moments when we are struggling.
Would you like to spend a day exploring ways to access your own wisdom, and creating some touchstones to ground and guide you as you continue to become the person you most want to be?
I invite you to join 7-10 other people to:
- Play with color, texture and images to bring your struggles and your core values into clearer focus.
- Use imagery and movement to strengthen your ability to shift into new perspectives.
- Explore what your body and your intuition know.
- Enjoy the richness of a full day to immerse yourself in the work of knowing yourself better – both who you are, and who you are becoming.
Cost: The cost is $85 and includes lunch.
Registration: If you are interested in registering, please send me an email letting me know you want to do so, and then send a check for $85 to reserve your spot to me at 9777 SE Tenino Ct, Portland OR 97086.
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Want some individual support to make the changes you want to make?
What could be different in September if you had the tools and support you need to shift out of the ways you feel stuck and into a deeper connection to you at your best?
Three months of individual facilitation (“coaching”) is $425. There is more information on the website, under Individual Facilitation.
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Call for Questions
Are there things you are struggling with, or coaching related things you are curious about, that you’d like to see me write about in this eNewsletter? I’d love to know what they are. Please email me at [email protected] and if I feel like I can address it in the newsletter format, I will.
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