Tonight on WCAX Channel 3 in Vermont’s The :30 show the topic is the seasons of life- we only have a few minutes to talk about something big, so I adding notes and resources here to supplement!
What do we mean by the seasons of life? Much like the seasons of the year, our lives have different seasons- different ages, careers, different things we are engaged in- and as we change and grow, we move in and out of different seasons. And much like the actual seasons of the year we will have times when we are creating, planting seeds, taking action- like the spring, times when we are taking constant effort to grow what we planted and being disciplined to do so- like summer, harvesting what we have worked so hard to grow over the summer, from the seeds we planted in the spring- like the fall, and times when we are quieter, resting, preparing, reflecting, hunkering down and preparing for the next growing season-like winter. In our lives, however, these seasons do not necessarily follow an exact timetable, although they may in many ways.
Some examples of seasons of your life are;
Entering the working world
Different jobs (each new job represents a new season)
Getting married or divorced
Kids leaving home
Starting a business
Losing a loved one or a friendship
Moving, and there are many many more and million shades of those, too.
A season is usually ending for work or relationships when you feel burned out, dissatisfied and have lost your passion. It is a call to really look at what you are doing- sometimes you can tweak things to make it a new season in the same place, but many times it is a call to move on. A season ends when a major life change takes place, as well. So you can see we choose some seasons and some choose us. Sometimes a season has ended and you don’t realize it or there is denial- this is why you might think endings are bad. Staying too long may bring on bad feelings, and not allowing for a graceful ending- instead there is hurt and sadness, bitterness and many other negative feelings about people and the situation which may not have been necessary.
Leaving a season will usually take a lot of courage. The reason we stay to long is the fear of the unknown- at least we know what this season is, stepping away, the safety seems to disappear.
Sometimes we may hurry to the next season, not wanting to feel the pain, discomfort and challenge which occurs when you have the time to think, reflect, take stock of what you learned in the last season. That space is known as the liminal space. Rushing through it cheats you of all kinds of personal growth, clarity, and lessons- because there is struggle- who wants to struggle? But I love this quote sent to my inbox by Ram Dass: “only when the caterpillerness is done can one become a butterfly.” What does the caterpillar have to do to become the butterfly? STRUGGLE. Embrace it! This is why you or someone you may know repeats the same mistakes over and over again- same relationship, different face. Same job, different location, etc. This is the time to reflect, reassess, realize the lessons of the past season, get clear and grounded to make good decisions and choices moving forward.
A word to those who might be feeling badly now about repeating past mistakes over and over again: it is OKAY! I want you to remember that you are not the same person at any point in time that you were the last time you make the “mistake”. We are always growing and changing- just know that there is more of the lesson left to learn- AND there really is no such thing as a mistake, rather experience or lesson might be good, as everything that happens is moving you forward.
What about regret in past seasons? Same thing applies as above. Don’t judge the you of yesterday with the you who you are today. Know that at time the you that you were did the best that you knew how to do. The only real mistake is not taking the lesson and moving forward, letting go of regret.
Some people try to get an old season back- it will never work, just based on what I wrote in the previous paragraph- everyone and everything changes- the time, the place, the people- you can’t go back. Like author Rob Bell says, this is like thinking- “we will get the band back together”- but think about how many bands actually get back together and are as good as the original.
So, what is the best time for beginning new season?
A time of defeat or failure! Use the energy to begin anew and decide what you want and start planting those seeds. Use what you have learned and move forward into a new season. All that needs to happen is for you to choose it!
A few things I like on the subject are;
Jim Rohn’s classic book which I have ready many times in different seasons called THE SEASONS OF LIFE!
Robcast (Rob Bell) episode #115 from August 22, 2016 called Seasons(available on iTunes podcasts)
Toni Stone’s Seasons of Prosperity, 9 Year Cycles workbook available at http://www.wonderworks.org/books.htm
Post your thoughts and questions here at the blog or on Facebook. Thanks for ready!