At the moment the world is, without choice, reflecting the sleepy pace of winter. The pandemic has stopped all activity in its tracks; it has made us pause, reflect, and take notice of what matters most to us. It might seem a strange time for festivities and new years resolutions but now is the perfect moment to use our spare time to take stock of this year and think about what we’d like 2021 to be like. It’s the time to embrace the slowness of the world and of the season. Just like winter, this time might seem bleak and bare, but this is a moment of rest, rejuvenation, and preparation for when spring bursts us back into action.
During winter we go into a form of hibernation, we get cosy and wrap up warm inside, away from the cold. It’s a season when the days are shorter, the nights are longer, and we feel the need to rest and naturally have less energy to do. If we take this valuable time to reflect we can notice that this is winter encouraging us to embrace it’s slow energy. As a part of nature, it’s normal for us to feel the effects of the season we are experiencing. Just as there is a season to bloom and grow, there is also a season to rest, recharge, and get ready for the next growth spurt. Despite winter’s restful facade, winter is not bleak, there is so much going on that we can’t see under the surface - all those seeds which fell in autumn are working hard to prepare for spring. We can’t engage with action and doing at the moment but we can stay inside, pause, and use this time to reflect on what we want to bring into our lives next year. What seeds do you want to see sprout in 2021?
It might feel like thinking about how the new year could be different to the train wreck of 2020 is a bit useless when there’s still so much uncertainty in the world. We all know that now is a time when nothing is set in stone, things change from day to day, week to week, and there’s no way to know what even the next couple of months will look like, never mind next year. This can cause a lot of anxiety to set in, we might notice the need for comfort and control in daily life pop up during this unsettling time. It’s so easy to wish things were different and to want the future to arrive sooner. Finding healthy ways to cope with this is so important at the moment and being intentional can help us with this. Instead of feeling like we are being thrown around by life, we need something to focus on to keep us grounded and to help us to be an authority in our own lives.
The seed holds our future dreams, hopes, and desires and being intentional nourishes the seed. Each rain shower, sun ray (or intentional act) no matter how small or fleeting is what it needs to keep growing steadily. Instead of spending our time yearning for a future where we imagine everything to be fixed and back to normal, having intention helps us to stay present in what we can do right now. This takes our focus away from what is currently out of our control to what we can control, to what we can do in every moment on the way to our own personal vision of the future. This is such a grounding act because it creates meaning behind everything we do in everyday life even when it feels meaningless and hopeless. Our attention is focused towards the vision we have for our lives and so every step towards that goal important, no matter how small. Empowerment is embedded into each moment because, instead of wishing for things to be different, we value now as a valuable part of the journey and recognise the potential for change in the present moment. Having our intention in mind in whatever we do helps us stay in a state of steady growth despite outward circumstances and doesn’t let us sit in stagnation for any longer than necessary.
Unfortunately, living intentionally doesn’t mean we will be free from anxiety or frustration completely but it provides us something to root into when the ground is shaky. Instead of the present moment being uncertain and uncomfortable, it is something we learn to embrace and use to ground ourselves. Following our goals and living with intention through our actions and choices doesn’t always guarantee progress in our outer worlds. However, there is value in tending to our seed even if it doesn’t sprout or if it takes a while to grow. We can still absorb all its nutrients and benefit from showing that dream care and loving attention. Just like during winter, at this moment in time a lot of growth is happening underneath the surface. We are rewriting our perspective, our approach towards uncertainty, and our sense of power in our own lives, all of which happens within us not outside of us. But, instead of feeling stuck because we can’t do what we want to do right now, we are choosing to plant our intention in each moment, sewing our hopes in the cold winter ground. We know that the seed will sprout once spring arrives and the world sets into motion again.
The patient growth of little seeds has really helped me to accept the uncertain circumstances of 2020. During the first lockdown I started a small garden in my back yard and planted all sorts of veg seeds. I found comfort in the thought that once the seeds had grown into big plants so much could have changed in the world for the better. I could see their growth each day and no matter how slow there was always something to observe and notice - a new shoot or a new leaf, they brought so much joy to my daily lockdown life. As the seeds were growing slowly so was the rest of the world - we were all accidentally syncing up with nature’s pace. The little sprouts taught me patience, helped me to appreciate the moment, and gave me hope for the future.
Living closely with nature’s seasons naturally encourages us to cycle through periods of growth and rest. Unfortunately, despite being a part of nature, we often resist this flow we innately have within us. Our current traditions encourage setting goals and resolutions in the new year, only giving ourselves one chance per year to assess where we are and where we want to be in our lives. Embracing our innate connection to nature can offer so many other opportunities throughout the year to set goals, to bring in new habits, and let go of old ones. One of these opportunities are the moon cycles which can be used as a monthly self-development tool. The moon cycles between a new moon and full moon every fortnight which allows the perfect time to assess how the past two weeks have been and to set your intentions for the next two weeks. The new and full moon have their own symbolism and energy which you can use to add another layer of meaning to your self-growth reflections. Traditionally the new moon is a time for setting intentions, for planting seeds, considering what change we want to see and what new opportunities we want to bring into our lives. The full moon offers balance to the growth of the new moon and acts like a clear out, it’s a time to reflect on what we have brought into our lives and what we might benefit from letting go of. During each new and full moon you can journal and ponder upon these things. This is just one of many examples of how living closely with nature’s cycles can be beneficial to aiding a consistent, intentional and conscious approach to our growth and self-development.
Whilst our outer world is on pause remember that there’s still so much to be explored in our inner world. We are not stagnant, we are recharging. This is a time for reflection, for assessing where we are and where we want to be, and being intentional about our journey there. What do you want to see sprout in your life once the world springs back into action?