Cycles

Everything’s a cycle. You’ve gotta let it come to you. And when it does, you will know what to do.

– Bright Eyes

Happy spring, everyone! I am so pleased to welcome this most lovely of seasons back again. While I adore the summer months, spring is probably my true favorite. There is nothing quite like the fresh, bright, vibrant energy of this time of year. There is so much beauty in contrast. I’ve always found it funny the way 55-60 degree weather in the fall seems dreadfully cold to me, yet the very same temperature is a godsend in the spring. At the end of the year I’d consider this weather too chilly for a walk, but now I am itching to be outdoors in the sunshine again. I used to dream about moving somewhere south so that I wouldn’t have to experience the snow and bitter cold of winter every year, but as I’ve grown older I’ve developed an attachment to this area of the country. Sometimes we need to face discomfort or adversity in order to fully appreciate and savor the rest of life. There is a lot that the cycling of seasons has to teach us if we are willing to witness their endless unfolding.

There is a strange comfort that repetition brings us. This constant ebb and flow that exists everywhere in this life is truly something beautiful to behold. This constant churning keeps life from becoming stagnant. It really is true that it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Without the colorless cold, the bitter wind, the once lush trees reduced to creaking black skeletons, we would not be able to fully appreciate watching the landscape come alive again. We wouldn’t be able to experience this bustling, rustling, vibrating energy as the earth comes alive once more. The sensation of new life, of awakening, of hope that spring stirs within us is unparalleled. It never gets old no matter how many years we have had here.

Spring reminds us that we need not fear the winter. It also insinuates that we need not fear even death. Imagine how frightened the first conscious creatures were that lived through winter. Surely with no guarantee, I would have assumed all was ending forever. Just as many of us feel facing death without faith in a god or an afterlife. There are no guarantees. No scientific evidence that we can analyze to suggest that anything exists beyond our final breaths. Still I find my own kind of faith in all of the cycles I see around me every day. Some cycles are as short as the ever-present rhythm of the breath, some are too long for us to comprehend or observe in a single lifetime. But I trust in the cyclical systems that surround us, that are within us, that we are inextricably involved in. While I may not be able to say what the cycle of life and death fully looks like, or even what it means for me, I am confident it is still a cycle all the same. I may not be there to witness the spring that blooms on the other side of my existence on this earth, in this body, in this mind, but I am confident that that spring exists. But for now, while I am still here, I am going to keep trying to learn from these cycles, to be mindful of them, to be grateful for them, to be patient with them, and to honor and accept where I am within them.

Photo by Simon Berger on Pexels.com

Season of Self-Care

I am someone who dearly loves the summertime. I often start to feel the effects of seasonal effective disorder as the days grow shorter and colder. Already I sense the long dark winter looming on the horizon. I feel a desperation begin to settle over me as the green hues of hot summer days give way gracefully to the orange and red undertones of autumn.

This year has me especially worried since I haven’t been doing so well even during the summer months. That’s why I’d like to set some intentions to be gentle with myself as this year of inner and outer turmoil comes to a close. I am always so hard on myself. I never seem to give myself credit for all that I do. I am always focusing on the ways I’m falling short of my own expectations.

Before the lack of sunlight starts to sap all of my energy, fall does seem rather inviting and cozy to me. Cuddling up with my fur children with a cup of hot tea of chilly evenings, making hearty stews, enjoying the return of pumpkin spice everything. It all seems rather nostalgic and comforting. I want the changing of seasons this year to be just another chance for me to practice being grateful for what is in front of me rather than anxious about what I don’t have or have lost.

I have to keep reminding myself that I deserve to rest. I deserve to simply enjoy the stillness between each moment. To savor every sweet breath.