I’ve spent the last few months with blinders on…not the blindfold type of blinders that prevent you from seeing, but more like the type they put on horses to keep them focused on what is ahead of them. Life all of a sudden got really hard, and really good, and really busy, all at the same time. Kind of like a whirlwind introduction to teenagers, owning your own business, husband starting a business kind of boot camp. I laugh/cringe because this is just the way I operate…when things get hard, I get small and go inward. When I was delivering my first son, I basically kicked everyone out (and down the hall so I couldn’t even hear their voices), and my poor husband who took all those crazy classes with me didn’t even have a chance to put his newfound knowledge to work from his chair in the corner. I had to be fully alone and present with myself to focus and complete the task at hand. So I’ve spent the last few months in my “internal cocoon…” possibly socially isolated and emotionally withdrawn, although I don’t know how I appear to others. I haven’t been upset, I’ve just had to focus on getting through a challenging time and I do my best work alone.
I planned and pushed with fervency to wrap up as many jobs as possible so that I could be home with my kids for the summer. And then…it was summer. But to my complete surprise (and delight), the summer that normally devours me like a consuming tornado, has meandered in peacefully and silently, observed by the wonderful cessation of marking time and checking off to-do lists. I did reverse psychology on myself by getting so busy, that summer now seems slow in comparison (I must be smarter than I thought to be able to trick myself)! My oldest boys literally fish from sun-up to sun-down and my daughter is in Florida helping family. I have gone from having 5 seemingly co-dependent children to feeling like I only have 2! My days have transitioned from non-stop movement, to coffee (with refills!) on the patio in the company of a good book.
Throughout the course of the last few months, I am reminded that the struggles and busy-ness of life can function as a splinter. They can cause irritation and sometimes outright pain, but the second they are removed, the relief gives way to a newfound joy and appreciation. Although I am a regrettably slow learner, I am beginning to posses with certainty the belief that every stage of life is good (even the hard ones) and can offer new opportunities for gratitude. I have loved being busy and creative and working, but I also love letting my brain rest and “just” being a mom. We can go through life, constantly looking anxiously ahead to the next phase, or we can learn to suck the marrow out of the here and now. I have done plenty of looking ahead. I long to improve upon cherishing the present.
I am also (finally) beginning the grasp the importance of living seasonally. Earlier in life, I strived and worked incessantly. I felt lazy if I stopped to rest. Yet when we frantically press on and on (even in positive, fun times) without diversity or change in pace, we quickly run out of steam and live a dreary life of monotony. There must be times of ebb and flow, work and rest, tears and laughter, suffering and joy. I am learning to heed and embrace the literal seasons of nature for life cues…the long, slow spread of summer days, the solitude and silence of winter, the invigoration of spring and the calming crispness of fall. I’m even attempting to eat seasonal foods to provide for varying physical needs throughout the year. I’m trying to fight less against life, and instead receive with open hands of gratitude each twist of events that life presents. In doing so, I am learning to trust more deeply and authentically. Hindsight is always 20/20 and the longer I live, the more I can look back over the threads of time to see how my life is being expertly woven. I am seeing with greater clarity that I can breathe and lean fully into a life of trusting God, nature, and myself.
Living seasonally is nothing new. It is, in fact, ancient and old and wise. I, however am not. But perhaps through the symbiotic relationship of internal intuition and nature’s external prompting, I can settle in to a rhythmic sort of journey that will lead to a full, healthy and long existence. Life is hard. But it’s also really, really beautiful. I want to make the CHOICE to savor the sweetness of life, instead of dwelling on it’s bitter moments. Cheers to summer…