I’ve recently been reflecting on the seasons as a metaphor for the seasons that we can go through in life. I’ve recently emerged into spring*, after my own personal winter which lasted almost three years - and it feels great.
Facing and moving through this dark spell in my life has been challenging to say the least; it sometimes felt like the bleakness and coldness would never end. But miraculously, spring has arrived - and I’ve never been more grateful for flowers and sunshine in all my life.
Our linear, patriarchal model seems to imply that life is one continuously increasing, long straight line – so if that is not our reality, we may assume this means we’ve done something ‘wrong’ or ‘failed’ in some way.
But this is just not accurate. Nature is cyclic and as part of nature, so are we. There is time to shine, time to change, time to rest and time to bloom. And as I discovered, sometimes our own personal seasons can last longer than three months.
Before my personal winter kicked in, I also experienced a personal autumn/ fall of about two years. So many things in my life literally fell away during this time – my full-time environmental career of almost a decade, living in my own (rented) home with all my own furniture and ‘stuff’ around me, my financial savings and sooooo many of my possessions (I fully embraced the joy and natural high of decluttering!).
And when I think back on my life, I can see this cycle repeating itself. The darkest and worst times of my life were always followed by a spring and then a summer of some kind – even if at the time, it felt like I was in the dark depths forever. It seems that everyone is different, but for me, this cycle seems to occur every twelve years; I’ve completed three full cycles in my life so far and I’m in the beginning stages of my fourth.
But it has taken me this long to see the pattern. For my other three winters before this one, I definitely felt like I’d made some kind of huge mistake and/or the universe was conspiring against me and/or I was being punished for something I’d done ‘wrong’. I also definitely felt really resentful and angry for the difficulties of these times – both at the time and for many years afterwards.
But now I can see it a little differently. I can see that these personal winters – as hard as they were at the time – were beneficial in the long run. It made me face things about myself and change in ways I never would have if things were always rosy. These were the periods in my life when I grew the most, and did in fact set me up to bloom and shine when my spring and summers eventually rolled around again.
This knowledge makes me feel empowered. I now know to fully enjoy and appreciate my personal seasons of spring and summer. I also know to be psychologically ready and prepared for my personal seasons of autumn and winter when they are due to come around again from my mid-forties onwards.
So, I felt to share this with you today. Whatever personal season of life you are in right now, I send you my love and best wishes. And if all else fails, remember: “this too shall pass”.
*I recently learned from my friends at The Weekly Service (through local historian Jim Powell) that we're currently in the indigenous season of Wintooth Wootanbaj-Jumbunna. Wintooth literally means coming to life, and this season is concerned with women's business and regeneration.
If you like this blog post, you may also enjoy my new book The Patriarchy Illusion: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Spiritual Feminism.