Living on farms for much of my 20’s, harvest season was always my favorite time of year. That experience of waking up one morning and actually being able to smell the transition to fall, feel the crispness to the air and sense the change is nature’s pace, seemingly out of nowhere. It’s a busy time for farmers but also signifies the restful winter ahead.
Today, I put our garden to bed for the year, picking all the winter squash left in the field, pulling the last carrots from the soil and collecting the final seeds for next year. This ritual, one that used to be a part of my every year, was always one of my favorites and I hadn’t realized how much I had missed this way of life during my years in the city. Sure, I was aware of the disconnection from the earth while living in LA, but it’s easy to lose track of the things that once made your heart sing, when you are on the mission of a mama bear.
Although nature’s seasonal change is a phenomenon we all seem to mostly accept, the ability to flow with the broader seasons of life is truly an art form… a skill which I deeply admire and have yet to master. But what better year to practice than this one, right?!
A good friend describes 2020 as the ‘year of pauses.’ I cannot think of a more apropos way of putting it. No matter how times we have tried to restart ‘normal’ life this year, it just can’t seem to get fully going. It’s like being stuck in rush-hour traffic in LA. No matter how badly you want to get home, you are a prisoner of the freeway, a term I have always felt is somewhat ironic, considering the lack of freedom on a freeway. There’s nowhere to go. You’re a victim of circumstance, along with all of the other million people trying to get somewhere…your shared fates dictated solely by the dynamics on the road. The evening LA commute, which I did 3 times a week with 2 screaming toddlers, in tireless dedication to Oliver’s NAPA therapy, often seemed endless… a feeling that has also become almost unescapable in this year of the pandemic. But those evenings stuck in gridlock also taught me, just a little bit more, to accept the things I cannot change. This year of pauses is something we cannot change.
This is the year to accept a different version of life. To accept doing less… Being less productive… Less perfect. To accept that each day, your very best, might look very different. This is a year to reprioritize, reconnect with yourself and maybe, in your surrender, rediscover another layer you never knew you had.
Just like nature’s seasons shift, unapologetically, from one to the next, so too, do those in our lives. Some seasons are for productivity. And some, are for rest. There’s no need to fight these natural flows. Whether you’re ready for them or not, they will come, and they will go.
From nature we learn, the only constant is change and that there is futility in resisting the perpetual motion of life. But there is power in the practice of acceptance and the experience of grace. Trust that there is a method to this madness, a rhythmic heartbeat of life, alive, even when it appears to be not so. Accept the seasons of rest just as fully as the seasons of pursuit. Each has an essential role to play and purpose to fulfill. And, as always, greater wisdom to reveal.