One of my favorite authors, Rebecca Campbell, speaks of honoring the seasons, both external and internal, in her book Rise Sister Rise. She instructs us that when we “disconnect from the subtle shifts in rhythm that the seasons bring, we disconnect ourselves little by little from the heartbeat of the planet and thus flow of life.”
She goes on to say that Spring is a time of hope and inspiration. Summer is for rising and outward connection. Fall is for the falling away and letting go. And Winter is a time of replenishment, clarity, rest and potency.
Rebecca also warns about the need to always be in summer, always being on. She lets us know “we are here to do a life’s work, not just a season.”
If we are constantly pushing ourselves, we are going to push ourselves right out of the flow of life. If we don’t stop to receive from the universe, our wells will run dry. We can’t create from a place of potency if we are trying to bloom all year round.
This teaching really resonated with me. Just as the earth goes through seasons, so do we. Sometimes our internal seasons sync up with the external one, sometimes we can have a full cycle of seasons within one external season. It’s all about listening to where you are at and honoring that.
For the past few winters, I would say I really embraced the depth, darkness and solitude of winter. Living in the seasonal town of Montauk, summers are poppin’ and winters, not so much. It becomes a very very sleepy town. There is a real beauty in it. The beaches in the winter are serene and stunning. The business I worked at stays open year round. But business slows considerably, cutting my hours in half, giving me plenty of ‘me-time’.
The first winter I spent there, I was still adjusting to this slowed paced of life (also to the ‘real world’ being a recent college grad), trying to maintain a long-distance relationship while continually being buried in several feet of snow. It felt more like a battle for my sanity than a peaceful time of quiet and contemplation.
The next winter there was a huge shift. I found a way to really tap into the restorative magic of the season. I created a nourishing morning routine full of self-care rituals. Typically a fairly slow reader, I was cranking through books – covering a variety of different spiritual topics. I bought a pass to the local gym/spa and spent hours there each day – usually, 20 minutes working out (if that) and the rest of the glorious time spent rotating between the roman bath, sauna and steam room. It was heavenly. I came out of that winter feeling so refreshed and renewed – like a newborn baby.
My spring, however, did not follow suit… but that’s a story for another time.
This winter I took it up a notch. I returned from my first jaunt through Southeast Asia, right before Christmas. I bought a ticket to return to Bali and Thailand for exactly two months later. I savored those two months, though. For the first time since I was probably 5 years old, I had zero agenda. No school, no job, nothing. I used to this time to visit with family and friends, which was so nourishing on many levels and left me feeling so blessed and full of love.
But other than that I just tended to myself. I remembered Rebecca’s words, “You don’t have to be active to be productive”. I dived deep into the quiet and surrendered completely into relaxation mode. I didn’t put any pressure on myself to do anything. Again, I created a very nourishing morning routine, full of reading, writing and kundalini yoga. I spent my days painting, meditating, cooking, getting into tarot cards and just enjoying my very beautiful life.
Traveling is wildly exciting. I was so fortunate to be able to do that journey this fall. I came back with opened eyes and a heart full of love and gratitude. But I realized I have an amazing life no matter where I am in the world. It doesn’t matter if I’m splashing around with elephants in Thailand, marveling at breathtaking waterfalls in Laos, trekking through Vietnam, catching an epic sunset in Bali, or hanging out at my parents’ house – my life is a beautiful and wonderful adventure. I am beyond lucky to be blessed with so much.
That being said, I did need to get back out here. It’s nothing against my life at home, but right now I am being called to be back in Bali and I need to honor that call.
So my internal winter is coming to an end, lining up with the eternal winter pretty nicely. This trip will mark my spring – a time of inspiration, blooming and awakening.
I used my first two days in Bangkok as a nice little transition time, not trying to burst into spring too fast. Now that I have arrived in Bali, spring fever is setting in hard.
I am so happy I took those two months to really recharge my batteries and restore myself fully. I am hoping it will make this spring, extra springy! I am ready for the shift of a fresh new season.