Just as the seasons change, our own lives bringing times of reflection, darkness, birth and rebirth, to help us on our journey of growth. Every season serves a noble purpose and to escape or avoid one season is to cheat the other.
I haven’t been able to make myself write a blog post for over a month now. At first I berated myself for my lack of motivation determined to push through it, which didn’t work. Eventually instead of beating myself up for my lack of motivation, I just observed. I asked myself what I really wanted to do. Finding that sometimes it’s better to go with my own flow and do what I feel called to do at the moment instead of forcing a schedule upon myself. This fallow time is often needed for new inspiration or a different perspective.
Hesitation or procrastination can often be a form of wisdom. Motives become clearer or new information shows up and amazing things can happen when you choose inner rhythms over the external pressures, as well as, the internal pressures of “have to, should of, could of, would of.”
This can be a positive thing, very much in tune with winter’s implicit message that down time is important. Winter is nature’s way of regrouping, a hibernation from duty, a long rest before burgeoning into spring with renewed energy.
There are times in our lives that we are very productive. Times when our energy is high and we can go non-stop. Then there are times when we must lie fallow, like the winter fields and pastures, that are purposely laid to rest for the winter in order to prosper in the spring. Not because we are lazy or uninspired, but because we must regain fertility in order to be prepared for the long days of calving and spring branding that is soon ahead, as well as, to create again.
One of the greatest blessings and most profound lessons about ranch life is about learning to follow nature’s rhythms and patterns, and in the process having the time and space to learn the ebb and flow of our own unique rhythms. Just like nature our internal and external lives also cycle through distinct seasons and a sense of peace can be found in working in harmony with your own proper timing, doing things in the right season and seeing your efforts bear fruit in later seasons.
Often we lose sight of the changes that the natural cycles of life bring, especially when our lives require us to live on a set schedule year round. I’ve worked the 8 to 5 jobs in town that ceaselessly demand maximum performance and output for eight hours a day, five days a week. These jobs have always left me feeling drained of spirit, internal resources and left running on empty. Yet here on the ranch with the shorter days of winter giving me some repose, it makes it possible to work 10 to 12 hour days this spring in more physically and mentally challenging situations than I’ve ever had at any desk job.
Fallow times also provide an opportunity to go internally within myself and clear out the old, clearing the way for the new. Even when you can’t see evidence of growth or new life above ground, life is still there growing, strengthening, changing underneath the barren fields.
Much of what we need to know, of what we long to know, lies beyond words, in a silent, hallowed place of knowing that is accessible only through the suspension of frenetic activity. Wordlessness by definition is indescribable, but its effect is unmistakably real, spawning a palpable sense of ease in my spirit. For now, I’ll go with that, trusting this fallow time to replenish me and lead me where I need to go.
In the darkness of winter, I turn within and learn to know myself. I go deep within to face my own fears and shadows, to heal and prepare myself internally for who I want to be and what goals I want to accomplish this year. It is a sacred time of preparation that must come before the new season of my life.
I sense my spirit rearranging itself, sifting through on what’s gone on before and needs to be laid to rest, as well as, looking to broader horizons evaluating the possibilities of what is yet to come, and see the possibilities of aspiring to greater things than even I could have imagined, as glimmers of inspiration bubble up from this deep place, guiding me forward in ways that logical consideration cannot.
This has been a time of letting go of all that no longer serves me including, parts of my past that have haunted me and hold me back from who I am capable of being, old hurts and resentments, negative self images and even negative people. The truth is, only when we let go of the old, forgive ourselves and others, accept situations just as they are and recognize that they are over and done with; can something new enter into our lives. It is also about realizing that at 38 years-old, I am too smart to be the only thing standing in my way of creating the life of my dreams.
Even though the present, harsh, snapping wind today is real and threatening, this wind is not for me to engage with, try to stop, or contain. Instead I go under, go within, and rest while feeling the warmth of being held inside the dark place—within the womb—where all creativity is born and new life begins.
I can rest in the company of these barren fields because I know their barrenness is necessary and the fallow ground covers the new seed as it breaks into being. New life that reaches through the darkness to embrace the light, creating itself anew, unfolding and the promise of tomorrow, potential held within. Just like I know from the experience of many seasons, new life will come and the work of my hands will flourish. I may not see the fruit in the season I expect. I may not see the vibrant colors I dream of by spring, but I know there is growth, there is life, there is time.
“That which can never die – When you think of your life as an open field, an empty field when something has occurred in your life a great transition even turmoil that makes you feel as though this field that was once full and alive has been burnt to the ground, please remember that new seed is faithful, it comes on the wind whether you want it to or not and it roots most deeply in the places that are most empty. New life comes if it is willed for or not.”
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés