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  • Jen Mantle

Creating balance through seasons

Happy Saturday Friends!

Although I love pushing that send button on a Friday afternoon, I am more of a Saturday morning reader, so here we are!

Let’s try this day for a bit and see how it fits 😊.

This week we continue our series on balance.

What is balance exactly?

When things feel balanced in my life, I know what to expect.

I’m including more of what I want in my day-to-day activities.

A little from every column of what I find important.

Basically, it’s me doing a bit of ‘all the things’.

Which… Could be its own dedicated letter involving expectations.

But I digress.

A concept that helps when it comes to balance is remembering the lesson of the seasons.

The seasons remind us that everything is always changing.

Nothing is ever going to remain the same.

Oftentimes, when we want to create balance, we really want consistency.

We want things to stay the same.

But in nature, there is always an ebb and flow.

Things are constantly evolving.

So why do I bring this up when considering balance?

Because even with change, there is rhythm in nature.

There will always be summer, fall, winter and spring.

Migrations, hibernations, and growth cycles all depend on this steady, rhythmic change.

With each of these seasons, we can learn how to create a consistent feeling to our days, weeks, and months.

As I write this, I’m sitting on my deck on an amazing fall day.

Songbirds have traveled south, and the crickets are quiet.

All I can hear is the breeze and leaves falling softly around me.

Fall is the season of letting go.

Leaves drop to the earth creating compost for next spring's growth, plants bring sugars down into their roots to survive the winter, and animals stock up.

Fall is all about holding onto the valuable lessons and letting go of what no longer serves us.

An arborist friend of mine used to call fall the everything must go sale of the tree world.

The same is true for us.

We can take solace that what we know what’s needed for the coming season, and what’s released will serve as compost for next spring’s growth.

Next comes winter, a season of stillness and dormancy.

A time when we huddle down, get quiet and reflect.

Fields go fallow and rest.

If this phase is skipped, disease is sure to ensue.

When I used to teach gardening, we would keep things growing all year long so kids could experience the joy of gardening.

Without a doubt, we would always get insect or disease problems in the beds that didn’t get a chance to rest.

In winter, it appears as though there isn’t much going on the surface, but this is such a productive time. So much is happening beneath the surface.

Without it, things get burnt out.

Us included.

Then comes spring.

A season of new growth, germinating seeds and potential.

All that was released in the fall has had a chance to break down thanks to winter, and now serves as fertilizer for newly growing shoots.

This is a season of new potential, new ideas and vision.

When it comes to our lives, its synonymous with our plans and goals.

Finally, there is summer.

The season of visibility, blooms, warmth, and growth.

It's when we can enjoy long days and all we have planted.

Trees are full of beautiful leaves and our garden is bountiful.

This is synonymous with having our plan in action.

Of harvesting the fruits of our labor.

There is rhythm in our natural world.

Seasons are always changing, yet there is consistency within them.

There will always be germination, growth, harvest, letting go and dormancy.

Each is dependent on the other.

How can we benefit from this in our lives?

The seasons help us to realize where we are in life, in our projects, as parents and so much more.

First notice and honor where you are.

Honoring where we are helps us to know what we need to feel more rounded, and where we may need to fill in the gaps.

We need to honor and be present for each phase.

And in some cases, notice where we may be stuck.

In our culture, most of us tend to be stuck in summer.

Thinking that we can produce all the time, all year round.

Going from one big project to the next.

But we forget the biggest lesson.

Roses don’t bloom year-round.

In fact, they barely bloom all summer.

We all need a little pruning, fertilizing, and down time.

What do you notice about where you are in life?

Are you always trying to produce?

Do you constantly dream about your ideal life but never quite make it off the ground?

Do you need to prune an already existing plan?

Are you constantly thinking of what was?

Or are you in a rest state, where you're never quite emerging.

All these things are totally normal.

Ideally, we complete each cycle and honor what each season is here to teach us.

In reality, take what you need and leave what you don’t.

Let the seasons show you what’s possible.

Bringing in a little of each season’s lesson will help you to have a more rounded, balanced experience.

Learning cycles and seasons has brought so much understanding for me.

It helped me to feel as though there is plenty of time.

I’m not there yet, and I don’t need to be.

There’s a season for that.

There’s still plenty of time.

For now, I get to be exactly where I am, listening to the beauty of the falling leaves.

Finding the magic, love, and gratitude for this moment.

Practicing presence.

Again, all in good time loves.

All in good time.

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