We can understand Self-hood and Vocation through the metaphor of seasons. Our lives are not 1 cycle of seasons. It’s a cycle of seasons that repeat over and over.
We would think that our Master Metaphor is from agriculture. But it’s not. It’s from manufacturing. We do not believe that we Grow our lives – we MAKE them. Listen to what we say: We make money, make time, make friends, make love.
This reduces the world to just merely raw materials that are worth nothing, until we impose our designs and labor upon it. If we accept the notion that our lives are based on a continuous cycle of seasons – that we can conspire with but not control – we run into our egos. Because we want to believe that we are always in charge. We need to accept that there is an Ecology of the world that we are futile to fight with.
Autumn is a season of great beauty. Though it’s a season of decline. Days grow shorter and summer’s abundance is decaying toward death. Though, what does nature do in Autumn? It scatters the seeds everywhere. Preparing for spring’s renewal. This is the time of our lives where we are planning and doing actions that bring efforts down the road. Whether it’s taking time to plan your corporate structure or reporting, or writing a blog. You are putting in the efforts of fruits in another season.
Though, in spite of the Autumnal beauty we are often caught with a tinge of sadness for the coming death. Even though it’s natural and normal. Autumn is natures testimony that death and elegance go hand in hand. There is in all visible things, a hidden wholeness. Darkness and light or death and life are not opposites. They are held together in the paradox of hidden wholeness. In a paradox, opposites do not negate each other. In fact they need each other. There is no light without dark.
When we try to make our Faustian bargains of trying to have light without dark, things go wrong. When we try to have continual light without dark, we end up with the glaring and graceless of artificial light. Though with the wholeness of darkness and light, we can live a balanced life of growth and recuperation.
Winter is a demanding season when death’s victory can seem supreme. Nature seems like our enemy. Though the rigors of winter brings a new set of gifts. It can bring a beauty, though a different kind of lens. Is there any sound more exquisitely quiet than the sound of a sky full of falling snow? Another gift is the reminder that rest is important for all things. Nature is not dead, it’s just underground and preparing for spring growth.
And winter is merely just a season. It is not an end. It is a cycle. It may come in the form of a market or job change. Maybe you quit an unfulfilling job because it’s not in line with your vocation. At first there is going to be a “Winter” of activity required to set up a company, get office space, and plan for the future.
Thought Winter can bring utter clarity. Without the foliage, you can see the trees. And see the ground that they are rooted in. This is the time to look at the roots we spoke of in previous posts. Are you building your building on soft bedrock and are you building your skycraper straight. Are all of the project/company’s workers in their alignment with the goals.
< Note: I fucking love this part >
The advice given to people in the winters of the upper-Midwest is: The Winters will drive you crazy until you get out and into them. Which is what you have to do with your challenges in life. You can’t get out of depression or get out of a funk. You can’t get “out of” your problems.
You MUST go deeper and then through your problems. You must go boldly to the heart of the season that you fear.
This is, by far, the most effective solution for our inward seasons of winter (failure, betrayal, depression, death). You must get out into them. Until we enter, boldly, into the fears we most want to avoid – those fears will dominate our lives. Careful analysis will find a many ways these feelings dominate many areas of our lives.
But when we walk deeply into them, protected by the warm garb of friendship, inner discipline, or spiritual guidance – we can learn what they have to teach us. Then we can learn that the cycle of seasons is trustworthy and life giving. Even in the toughest season of all.
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This is a great lesson that currently resonates with me in a big way. In the last 6 months I have attended 2 separate, 3-day seminars that MADE ME go inward and waaaayyyy deeper than I was comfortable with. They were tough and painful, and utterly transformative.
I spent an entire day defining my grandest fear that has held me back my whole life – and read it to strangers…..repeatedly. I wrote it on a shirt and wore it. Wrote a letter to myself as a child. Wrote a letter from my parents, as that child. Then started a morning lying on a hotel floor doing breathing exercises.
And it was awesome. So, I’m telling you as someone who has done it – embrace the suck of running at your fears and just standing in them to get their learnings. Then reparent yourself of how you want to feel about them