As I look ahead, I can see the raindrops clogging the pores of the screens that cover the lower half of my windows. There are low-lying gray clouds kissing the rooftops at the backside of the farmer’s field. Puddles of water skip across the land. It’s not officially spring yet but the weather has turned warmer and the rains have come. We are in transition from the depths of winter.
In my inner world, I’m descending down the slope of autumn during my premenstrual phase. I’m nearing what are typically the hardest days of my cycle: the few days prior to menstruation. I’m watching, listening, and leaning in. That’s my homework this time around.
Now let’s step back a few degrees and shift our perspective to the soul level. From this perspective, as a human soul, I’ve been deeply entrenched in winter for more than a year. Different areas of my life are progressing ahead of others but, in general, my life is in winter. Ideas are mere seeds gestating in the deep, dark, depths of the season. No great change to be expected for some time to come.
It’s this last piece that feels the most significant. It’s the freshest piece of the puzzle I’ve been waiting for. And it brings with it many new insights and learnings.
In October, I packed up my cute first-floor apartment. I took myself, my dog, and all our belongings away from the part of town where I spent a significant portion of my adult life. I left behind the beautiful Live Oak-lined street, the bustling neighborhood nestled next to the nicest highway in town, and all the delicious restaurants snug in one spot. My move was one major transition in a series.
I remember fantasizing about this move being the big jump off into my new life. This was it, I thought; after this move, things would look up and I’d move forward with vigor and gusto into my new life. Surprisingly, this hasn’t been the case at all.
I’ve struggled in the last months to find my rhythm. That’s a phrase I’ve said over and over and over to myself and others as I’ve searched for understanding, clarity, and grounding. It’s the best word to describe what feels like is missing: my rhythm.
In reality, my rhythm hasn’t been missing at all. The rhythm has been here all along. I’ve, unfortunately, been bobbing and weaving all around it in search of a rhythm other than the one that’s here.
I’d been so hopeful that my move signaled a new dawn, a new spring, the transition from winter. Even as I settled into the outer rhythm of fall and then winter, my longing for the up-and-up feelings of spring persisted. But, as I grasped in every direction for the rhythm, I failed to find the vibe and land in the dance of my liking.
My work with the seasons has evolved over the last several years. My tracking of these rhythms began with my menstrual cycle and nature’s seasonal cycle at the same time. In tandem, my work with these two cycles has ebbed and flowed in its own ways. Each one playing into the other in subtle and overt ways. And today my cycle work brings me to an even deeper layer: cycles at the human soul level.
Just as with the seasons (outer and inner) our human souls grow through seasons as well. Segments of our life may cycle through varying seasons at any given time but we may sense that there’s an overarching season to our life. We cycle through these seasons at varying intervals, and one whole cycle can occur over months or many years.
At present, I find myself still deep in the cave of winter. I’ve been here for at least the last year. Despite my optimism and hope, despite my continued prying and wrestling, despite my wishful and magical thinking, my move wasn’t the transition to spring I had hoped for. No wonder it’s been so difficult for me to find my way in the last several months. I can’t very well find my groove if I’m trying to dance to a rhythm that’s not even here. Dissonance abounds.
I acknowledge that part of my heart that craves the warmth, freshness, and aliveness of spring. That time will come. But for now, I’m in winter. A place I need to continue to lean into. A place that offers many gifts when worked with consciously.
I wish I had the knowledge of human soul seasons sooner. It would have made these last several years much easier. While I’m no fan of the challenges of autumn and winter, I know there are gifts there. These gifts are especially fruitful when I’m able to consciously engage with each season. But, when sitting in the dark, it’s incredibly difficult to lean in. My mind wants a completely different experience from what’s present if I don’t first understand where I’m at.
For years now I’ve been on the descent. Many moons ago I realized there was a spark to life that I’d lost. I figured it had to do with my line of work or a shift in my perspective. Something that maybe I could get back somehow by doing things differently. Little did I realize that the loss of my spark had everything to do with my descent into autumn. A clear signal that my soul’s cycle was shifting seasons. And in the last year, I’ve been squarely in the season of winter. A time of loss, retreat, and quiet. I see that now.
In my lack of awareness, my naive hopefulness has led me to many months of dissonant living. Wanting one thing but experiencing another. Today that all changes. Thank God for new learnings and awareness’!
Just like with nature’s seasons my soul’s season won’t last forever. By design, it flows into the next at the right time. This brings me peace as I settle into a conscious relationship with the season I’m in now.
I open my arms and embrace my winter. Yes, it’s quiet. My creativity sits back and sleeps. The fruit and roots of my home remain retracted into the core, preserving energy. My intimate partnership moseys along at a snail’s pace. My career… it does the same. I’m keenly aware that each of these areas is changing. There are visions and dreams occurring now. Seeds gestating waiting for the right time to be planted. But nothing is overtly happening.
The quiet and calm of winter can be deceiving. One may think that nothing is happening in all the stillness. But don’t fall for that trick. Life may feel awfully still right now but there are great things brewing beneath the surface. And one day soon spring will return.
Now I can let go of all the anxiety. I can release my incessant need to take action or make a change. I can allow the quiet dreaming of winter to fully take hold. I can release my grip on all the parts of my life that are seeking to be transformed through the death and rebirth process, the cycle of life, my soul’s seasons. I can surrender.
My task now is to honor precisely where I’m at. I still have some grieving to do for the life I’ve left behind and the parts of my life that are still in the process of falling away. Perhaps this is the hardest part of all. Recognizing and acknowledging that I’m still letting go. Things are still ending. Soon my career will change, my home will change, and my relationship will change. Who I will be and the life I lead will not be the same person or life that was before or is now.
Coming into sync with this knowing is like taking a deep breath for the first time in months. I can work with this. This is a rhythm I know how to dance to.