I like knowing. I like the feeling of certainty and being prepared. It feels comfortable and safe for me. I can anticipate what I might say or do and plan. I feel in control. However, when I “get” all of these then things begin to feel overly predictable and, frankly, boring.
I also like chance and luck and taking a risk to explore unpredictable possibilities. I like wondering about the surprises ahead.
Maybe this happens to you too? It feels like a tightrope walk to find the sweet spot of balance between these two.
Nature seems to have figured it out. This past year I’ve been allowing nature to be my teacher. With my mornings freer now that my birds are both off to college, I take a walk in the woods near my house almost every morning. I began in the late spring as things were getting warm and bursting with color and vibrancy. While cold weather usually sends me hibernating inside, I make a big decision this year—to bundle up and keep walking through all the seasons.
Looking closely at what’s at my feet as I walk, I’ve realized the lopsided perspective I’ve held that all the action and brilliance of nature is in the warmer months of spring and summer. A somewhat parallel lopsided belief is that life is best when bursting with joy and abundance. The last few years and my walks these past few months have revealed something different.
There is deep wisdom and genius in the seasons and cycles.
Nature has figured it out.
The leaves have fallen and I watch each day as they disintegrate back into dust to nourish the soil. The seeds that took flight far and wide in the blustery days of fall are finding warm holes made in the dirt by the deer who walk in the early mornings. The cool temperatures, and the rain and snow, melt the soft plant matter as if the pallet of the past year is being cleared while simultaneously tucking the seeds into their winter beds for the next segment of their journey.
All of these “happenings” are subtle and soft, and in the past I’ve had a tinge of sadness, only seeing it all as the fading of summer, a loss. The season that was yesterday is no more. The person I was yesterday is no more. In the past I turned away, stayed inside, bundled up, to endure. I was missing, resisting, seasons and cycles of nature and my life.
In my daily immersion of the real physical matter of the trees, the leaves and the seeds, I see the fading and disintegration still AND also the beauty of the clearing away and simultaneous preparation for the next cycle. There is no end and no beginning, it is a flow and it’s all connected. It’s the macrocosm of the breath. The exhale makes space for the inhale. And then over and over again. Nature truly has figured it out.
At this time of our darkest days of the year, I feel this new invitation to celebrate this time of surrender, of getting quiet and still, of preparing and emptying and opening to what’s ahead. Inhale and exhale.
I’m inviting myself to be in these moments of softness and patience and beauty—to stay centered and embrace the open space and mysterious ripples of all the not yet revealed possibilities.
As a way to honor all that has happened in the pallet of your year here is a beautiful exercise to complete 2019 and plant your seed for 2020.
Make a list of all of your accomplishments from 2019. List the things you planned and the things that just happened in your work and home life. Sit with this list and take a few breaths.
Make a list of the accomplishments that you’d like to have on a list like this at the end of 2020. Sit with this list and take a few breaths.