Our modern lifestyle expects us to emanate the energy of a perpetual summer – showing up brightly, quickly and actively to fulfill all our roles and responsibilities day after day, all year long. No surprise that so many of us are “burned out” – even the brightest flame must return to the quiet darkness.
Lucky for us, we have an incredible tool – the seasons of the year, to guide us and teach us how to flow with grace and ease. When we align our energy with the nature that surrounds us, we do not burn out – rather, we are replenished and ready when it is time to go out and shine.
Like a gentle and wise teacher, the earth uses her seasons to model when to rest and reflect, when to cleanse and activate, when to shine bright and create and when to return back to self.
Let’s dive into this, starting with winter, so we can find the gifts and opportunities that each season offers.
It is a cold, long winter night. All the darkness wraps her blanket of stars and rest around us and beckons us to enter the mystery, to listen to the quiet, to sink below the stillness of the snow.
Yes, it is winter in the northern hemisphere, and the challenges and gifts of this season have their medicine.
The days are short, the nights are long – it is time to slow down, rest and truly restore.
Sounds are muffled by the snow, the birds are quiet, bears are deep in their boroughs – it is time to go inward, reflect, meditate and dream.
The plants have died back, their energy has descended into their roots – it is a time to nourish our roots, connect to our families, ancestors and the ancient ones.
Eat earth vegetables and soups. Beets and carrots have taken on a new note of sweetness with the kiss of the frost. The medicinal roots dug up in the fall can overwinter us during this time; ginger, echinacea, angelica, horseradish, and garlic keep our blood warm and our immune systems strong.
It is in this darkness, in the mystery of the void, that the idea of creation is born.
The tiny seed. The new dream. The tug of our heartstring. Our soul calling forth the feeling of a new creation, a new project, a new idea.
In the fertile darkness, we meet the seed.
In the new year, we may meditate on how this seed may grow. What intentions we plant and how we will support them so they can blossom, become real and thrive, so we can ultimately reap their harvest in seasons to come.
Nature awakens from her slumber in the spring, and the quickening we feel in her rhythm is a signal for us to shake off the stillness and stretch into new growth.
Birds begin to chirp, the days are longer, the sun is warmer and brighter, new grass shoots up with vigor and joy – all of nature is eager to grow.
The medicinal weeds cover the awakened earth, offering us the medicine we need to cleanse our bodies from the hibernation of winter, to purify our blood, and bring some chlorophyll and energy into our cells. The bitterness of fresh dandelion greens removes stagnation and stimulates digestion. Metaphorically too, it is time to digest what we have gathered over the winter, and turn it into energy and growth!
Be gentle with yourself as you take the seed of your dreams and begin to give it the energy it needs to grow and manifest.
Support you body with vitamin and mineral rich nourishing herbs, such as nettles, chickweed, dandelion or red clover. This is a good time to bring more movement into your body with yoga, stretching, or brisk walks outside in the fresh air.
As you spend more time outside, notice how nature is nourishing new life, and follow her lead – feeding the vitality awakening inside of you.
The sun is bright, we have turned up the heat and energy of activation, creation, manifestation! The long summer days offer us the fuel to put in longer hours of work and pleasure. This is the time to take on those projects and accomplish those goals! People are out and about, networking, collaborating, celebrating and partying. Burn bright, shine your light, connect to your truth, enthusiasm, courage and joy.. and remember not to burn out!
It is easy to overdo it especially since our society thrives on busy bees and may train our solar plexus to connect self worth with productivity. Back in the garden, nature offers plenty of allies that help keep us cool, such as cucumbers and watermelons. Stay hydrated, drink fresh juices and enjoy raw cooling foods.
An energizing adaptogen like Schizandra berry is a wonderful ally in the summer months, to give you sustained zing while nourishing your body and strengthening your immune and nervous systems.
As the summer begins to golden, we find ourselves in the magical time of indian summer. The days are still long, but the light is not as bright and hyper – rather, it feels more mature, as if it is savoring its own deliciousness.
Nature is telling us to start slowing down, to savor the sweetness and to appreciate the abundance we experienced this year. The gardens are full of ripe food ready for picking. It is time to harvest the fruit of our labor and to give thanks for the earth, our communities, and our blessings. Thanksgiving is a harvest holiday and the energy of fall invites us to celebrate the abundance and begin preparing for the winter.
If you have a garden, you may be stocking your cellar full of root vegetables, pickling, making jams and medicines. Take time to count your blessings and acknowledge your hard work. Take note of what worked and what could be improved next year.
With the fall solstice, the earth and all her relations begin calling back their energy deeper into themselves. The leaves brown and fall to the earth, dying and returning back to the eternal compost of our ecosystem. The energy of death, decay and rebirth is powerfully present and many cultures around the world celebrate the Day of the Dead, Hallow’s Eve and the thin veil that separates life from death.
The cycle has turned and we feel the pull back in, to reflect, to savor the sweetness and to prepare for another journey deeper into the mystery of silence. We are one turn around the sun wiser, it is time to integrate the experiences we gathered and descend into the fertile darkness, where once again we will meet the spark of source that heralds a new beginning.