Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Rhythms of Nature ...


The summer ends and it is time
to face another way.

Wendel Berry

Hi everyone!

It's a beautiful autumn day here in Vancouver - warm and sunny but with a edge to the breeze that reminds me of cooler days to come. This week, I've been taking an online course on the relationship between nature and spirituality and I was struck by this description of the rhythm of the seasons:

When we pay attention to the rhythm of the seasons we learn a great deal about the rise and fall of life, about emptiness and fullness. Spring invites us to blossom forth, summer calls us to our own ripening, autumn demands that we release and let go, and winter quietly whispers to us to rest, to sink into the dark fertile space of unknowing, releasing the demands of productivity and calendars and to do lists and to simply be.
                                                                                                      Christine Paintner

I don't know about you, but that's not the normal pattern of things for me. Autumn and winter are far more likely to be times of compressed do-ing than quiet be-ing. And yet, what a gift we would give to our spirits and bodies if we could follow the natural rhythms of nature and allow a time of fallow, a period of rest that restores our ability to bear fruit.

What if the fall and winter months brought with them an invitation to be less busy, to move inward to a time of quiet, introspection and re-creation?  What if we decided to hibernate, to restrict our kids to a single outside activity per season, said no to recreational screen time and graciously refused a few of our social invitations. What if we made more time for quiet reading, conversation, long walks in the woods and hot drinks by the fire? What if there was sufficient spaciousness for deep reflection, heart connection and even the odd nap?

Now, for some of us, a season of surrender and hibernation could be terrifying. I heard in a CBC radio interview this week that someone had done a study offering participants the choice between a mild electric shock and the boredom of fifteen minutes in a quiet environment and a large percentage actually preferred the electric shock! Are we becoming a society hooked on busyness and stimulation? Perhaps a return to the patterns of nature might allow us to shift our nervous systems back from chronic sympathetic ("flight or flight") arousal to a calmer relaxation response.

I wonder which season would describe your life experience this fall? Are you in sync with the natural flow? Can you be? What (if anything) might you want to change to create a closer parallel between your life and the seasonal rhythm?

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