Seasons

I love it when seasons change. When we’re in any season, it can feel like it’s never going to end…even though we know better. In the summer, we almost can’t even imagine it ever becoming cold enough to wear a hat, scarf, and gloves ever again. As a matter of fact, just the thought of it is enough to make us break into a sweat. When the bitter cold of winter threatens to freeze us senseless, there’s no way we can be convinced that we’ll ever be able to leisurely lounge around out in the yard barefoot, wearing just a tank top and shorts…are you KIDDING me?! Where is the nearest cup of hot chocolate?? But alas, the seasons do change…consistently, and without fail. Granted some seasons are harsher…some are milder. Some changes are subtle, while others are drastic. But you can bet the family farm that change is coming.

 

If you’re a person who hates change, you probably find seasonal transitions annoying and inconvenient. But something to consider is that even within each season – whether it’s your favorite or not – there will be SOMEthing you either loathe (or would rather not have to deal with) or something to which you absolutely look forward. And I really do mean EVERY season. If you’re a winter baby and love to cuddle and snuggle, maybe you can’t stand driving in the snow or the elevated energy bills. If you’re a water baby and can’t wait until summer rolls around each year, maybe you’ve just grown accustomed to the humidity or seeing half-naked not-so-“beach” bodies flouncing around. If you happen to enjoy the transitional seasons of spring or autumn, maybe the unpredictability of rain or suddenly-cool weather, or tornadoes, hurricanes, or allergies puts a damper on your celebration of those flowers or beautifully changing tree colors.

 

Something I’ve come to realize is that wherever we are, it’s a season…always. No matter how good or bad, change is always on the horizon. And it always seems to happen right when we get good and settled into the groove of whatever season we’re in. Something or someone comes along and shifts the dynamic, and catalyzes some kind of different focus. Be it a job, a death, a relationship, a birth, or simply an internal awakening. Change happens. It’s the only thing that’s constant, ironically.

 

We can try to fight the changing of the seasons, or hang on as long as we can to the current season…but that only makes the shift more difficult. And only makes us look ridiculous. We’ve all seen that “clueless” fashionista that absolutely LOVES “short shorts”…so she tries rockin’ ’em with tights and knee-high boots, while wearing an extra thick bubble coat with a faux fur hood, extra long scarf, and matching gloves…and when she gets home, her legs are purple and she can’t feel them for two hours after she’s in a heated environment. WRONG SEASON, BOO. Same thing applies for the lover of cowboy boots when it’s “one hundred and HELL” in the dead of summer.

 

So what do we do? Be prepared for the season to change. This doesn’t mean missing the magic of the moment or becoming the proverbial witch hunter, looking for what’s looming around the corner, but it does mean FULLY getting the most out of the current season while having a realistic understanding that what exists AS it exists today can and very likely WILL be very different in the next season. And we have to be prepared to embrace and welcome the new season, along with all of its gifts and lessons (which can take on any number of forms, and/or come from any number of sources).

 

One reason I enjoy the changing of seasons is it makes me accountable. Because even if a similar season is to come next year (or whenever it comes, thinking in terms of the “life” seasons and/or cycles we experience), THIS season will NEVER return. How I spend my time and energy, or where I choose to direct my attention will never be able to be re-directed.  THIS season’s seed will have been planted wherever I chose to sow it, and cannot be uprooted and re-planted. Therefore, I’m learning to give credence to what really matters while I can actively influence the outcome. Because once the season changes, that chapter is closed and there will be no edits, and no do-overs. It’s done.

 

Now do I always make the “right” choice? I don’t think so. But even recognizing a poor choice is a tool to be added, and a garment made available for wear in the upcoming season…so long as the same poor choice isn’t made next go-’round. Have I caught myself in the mirror wearing out-of-season garb? Or worse…have OTHERS had to tap me on the shoulder and tell me to get my ass back in the house and put on a coat or take off that hot ass sweater? Unfortunately, yes. Do I stand there and mourn the fact that I messed up, or quarantine myself because I was embarrassed by the fact that someone else had to call my attention to it? I could. I have. But when I wake up from that lunacy and realize it’s much easier to just surrender to what the season truly calls for, recognizing that the seasons change for a reason and there’s a process I’m hindering by bucking against it…serenity comes. Freedom comes. Clarity comes. The bliss of the new season comes.

 

Why does the season always seems to change right when we start to settle into the current season’s groove and routine? Maybe it’s to keep us “alive” and not to get so deep into that groove that it becomes a rut. I don’t know. All I know is I love it when the seasons change…


The Walk

I was walking from my car on the long journey up the hill to the gym. [No, REALLY…if you saw the gym, you’d realize that the walk from the car to the doors of the building is a workout in and of itself.] And on this particular walk, I was feeling rather contemplative and was very alert and aware of my surroundings. The sky looked like a body of the most beautiful blue waters hovering overhead. The new spring leaves swayed ever so gently as if in rhythm with the spring breeze subtly whistling a gracious tune. All of the insects, birds, squirrels, and geese were co-existing in harmony. I wasn’t doing my usual swatting and dodging…and actually, I didn’t need to this time. It was such a serene and calm moment before working up a hearty sweat and giving my heart the massage it deserved. It was a perfect scene. And when the breeze changed directions, I got a whiff of something so breathtakingly aromatic I had to look for it.

I looked and I looked…inhaling as often as I could before it “passed” or before the breeze changed directions again, wafting it away from me. And I was baffled because I just KNEW that something that fragrant would be nearby, or at least that I’d be able to easy spot it as it stood out with its vibrant colors or thick foliage. But nope, nothing…or so I thought. As I kept walking (I told you it was a long walk…you thought I was exaggerating, didn’t you?), I looked around and noticed that I had been looking at those blossoms all along. They were the smallest and sweet-smelling WEEDS I’d ever encountered! Yes…“weeds”. I couldn’t believe it.

And even though I was looking right at ’em, I still kept trying to find the “real” flowers that were making my nostrils dance a happy two-step. Then it hit me that this is how I’ve been going through most of my life…looking for something “else” to which I could or would attribute my joy or fulfillment. Saying things like “when such-and-such happens, I’ll be happy”, or “when so-and-so finally gets here, I’ll be fulfilled”. Forfeiting the bliss of NOW. Overlooking the magic of THIS moment. Being blessed enough to breathe in the beauty of today and the succulence of the present…yet downplaying it to grasp at the straws of “someday”, “someone”, or “somehow”.

When I made that connection, it made the air even sweeter…because I wanted to make sure I was fully present and chose to appreciate the miracle of the moment. No, the source of the experience didn’t look the way I thought it should. It wasn’t packaged the way I figured something that engaging would. I was totally taken aback by the beautiful surprise that was surrounding me…and in that space, walking up that long hill, I was in awe. It was a holy moment for me. Because one shift of the wind, and being in the right state of mind to receive that new perspective caused me to dive into another depth and consider what I’d previously deemed as ordinary or even annoying or unkempt as a beautiful offering. What a walk!


Strapping In For the Ride

As a writer, I’ve thought about a number of different writing ideas and projects.  The bulk of the ideas are fantastic.  No, I’m not being narcissistic or egotistical…I mean many of the ideas are grounded in various fantasies of experiences I’ve never had.  For example, I’ve wanted to write about the different “holy moments” in life, such as birth (well, I’ve experienced it myself obviously, but haven’t had the opportunity to witness it), death (GLAD to be in the dark on that one on a first-hand basis), “seeing” someone for the first time (not just visibly, but having the experience of being able to embrace their very essence), and so on…  All of these and several others I’ve dreamed about and imagined what it would be like to be in such a moment, but still I’m clueless.  I’ve also had several ideas surrounding the whole phenomenon of falling in love…again, not something I’m sure I’ve experienced.  I’ve had crushes, sexual flings, and been infatuated with the “idea” of people…but the experience of being baptized in the holy warmth of a whole love with someone who’s right there in the baptismal with me is something that has escaped me.  But the one thing I have working for me is my imagination.  

Even with that, I have yet to allow myself to tap into all of the recesses of myself without judgment.  For example, an incredibly dynamic writer that I’ve grown to appreciate is Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal).  But some of the ideas she comes up with are from places that I’d be afraid to fully venture into.  Although if I did, I believe I’d surprise myself.  I have enough dark places inside me that “Hollywood” would probably welcome me with open arms, but I haven’t quite released the idea of emotional safety (probably another reason why I’ve never been exposed to that baptism I referred to earlier…because being in love is not “safe”.  It’s the riskiest thing we ever do.  But I’ll write about that another time.)  But I know that those “safe” story lines are the corny predictable stories that don’t go anywhere beyond superficial pleasantries.  And the truth of the matter is that I’m not a “safe” thinker.

For as long as I can remember, my imagination has tended to lean in the direction of the worst possible scenario.  Fear and uncertainty were groomed in me by the unexpected experiences of my childhood…more stories that I can’t write about because they’re not just my stories, and would expose things about other people that they haven’t revealed yet.  And I don’t have the energy to change all of those scenarios and facts to protect them…might as well just make up a new story altogether – which is where that vivid (albeit dark) imagination of mine comes in.  It starts in truth, but then spins off into layers of details and complexities that turn it into something completely different than how it started.  I’ve done this in my life a number of times.

The thing that has preserved me through this darkness is an uncommon optimism that things will actually work out in the best possible way.  Not necessarily in a cliche “happily ever after” fashion, but in a peaceful and joyful resolution that leaves all parties whole.  Huhn…guess that is happily ever after.  Whatever the case, the point is it doesn’t end in my dark imagination.  There is always hope.  And hope always prevails.

These two can be kinda maddening at times, but rather than condemn and/or try to “fix” the two ideas, I’m taking them as a gift.  And with that gift, I intend to allow it to work for its best purpose…one that I won’t try to define.  It will define itself, and I’ll work within it.  

So I’m strapping in for the ride…