There’s something very powerful, and quite magical, about the natural cycles of the world around us. We see it in the moon, its waxing and waning, its gravitational effects on the tides. We see it in the seasons as nature grows and dies off, and we see it in our own unique rhythm and flow.
So much of the systems and structures we live with are linear, they assume that everything can be done all of the time, we just need to force it to be so. Conversely, the cyclical (as nature is) assumes there’s a time for action and a time for stillness; a time for going outward and a time for coming inward.
So, how can we use the natural rhythms of the seasons in our annual planning?
I believe that by using the energy of each the seasons as a mirror for our own processes, we can get our stuff done with ease and flow, not the busyness and overwhelm.
In this blog, I’m going to outline what each season brings us, and the focus for our doing and being during each season so that you can use that when it comes to planning your year.
Spring brings an energy of awakening after the hibernation of winter, the sense of something new on the horizon. The skies are getting bluer, the snow drops are appearing in our gardens and woodlands, and the days are starting to get longer. We start to feel the urge to throw ourselves wide open to new possibilities. Spring is the time to set our intentions for the year, to do our annual planning, not in January when we’re still in the dead of winter.
Summer is the season of creation and abundance, the seeds sown in spring are growing into their full bloom. Long sun-kissed days, spent on the beach and in the parks, summer is the masculine energy of yang, action. This is the time to create, create, create; all the projects you’d planned (and planted) in spring, coming into fruition.
As we move to late summer, we’re no longer in the headiness of full summer and the long active days. Now it’s more lazy summer evenings in the garden. The days are getting shorter and we can feel summer drawing to a close. Late summer is about gathering in, reaping the fruits of your labour, the life you created, now born. It’s the time to make sure all your important projects of the year are coming to a close; to lovingly accept that there may not be time to do anything else, and that’s OK.
Autumn is a time for harvesting and showing gratitude for all that we’ve produced over the summer. It’s a time for slowing down, for clearing out the old to make way for the new, and preparing for the winter ahead. The energy is discerning and decisive about what needs to stay and what needs to go. Staying committed to the long term plan and vision, through the stillness of what’s to come, and prioritising needs for the winter ahead. Autumn brings you one final chance to finalise your projects; it’s a time to make decisions about what can be cleared out, to reorganise and tidy, to create new systems.
And finally, winter. Probably the hardest season for us to be fully in flow with, given the busy-ness of life and the relentless culture of ‘always on’ that we live in. But, perhaps the season where we can benefit from the most profound shifts if we were to surrender to it. Winter is the time for dormancy and stillness. It’s a time for turning inwards, it’s the feminine energy of yin, receiving. The energy of winter is all about slowing down and trusting in the ‘process’ of winter, surrendering to it and the gifts it will bring. The stillness is not ‘inactive’ but it’s a receptive action, in the stillness, shifts happen and new insights appear. If we can allow ourselves, winter is the time for resting and replenishing, for mediatating and journalling, at the very least, for slowing down.
In this busy world we live in, it’s important to find moments where we can sow the seeds of change. Find ways to ‘be’ a little differently so that slowly over time, those seeds bloom into a more life-sustaining way to live and lead.
So, I invite you to reflect on the small changes you can make so that you can live and lead more in flow with the rhythms and cycles of our natural world.