Inside: Understand different types of summer seasons, common characteristics of summer seasons, and learn to thrive in the summer seasons of life.
A practice of Seasonal Living teaches us that the natural world, biology, and human experience are patterned around cycles and seasons and change is constant. As one revolution comes to an end we begin again. There is a time for turning inward and engaging outward, for building and creating and for receiving and resting, for planting, watering, and harvest. For death and (re)birth.
Tuning into the seasons we’re in helps us live gentler, calmer, joyful lives. We become more attuned to and less fearful or resentful of the ebb and flow of life. We put down deeper, healthy roots of self-awareness and self-compassion that allow us to tilt and flex and not break when the storms come. We push back against cultural conditioning and societal norms and learn to work with instead of against our wiring and in doing so, we walk in greater freedom, health and joy.
The summer stars blaze, and the garden explodes with colorful blossoms. Every sunset is different, every breeze unique.Diane Ackerman
DIFFERENT CYCLES AND SEASONS AND FOUR Summer SEASONS OF LIFE
As women (and humans) across continents, geography, climate, culture, and history, we have a lot in common.
In addition, archetypal psychology, mythology, working with women from different corners of the world, my own life experiences (including grief, trauma, healing, self-awareness and self-compassion work, for example), and gleaning from the wisdom of other writers and teachers across the past 20 years, have influenced my practice of seasonal living.
But this is not a rigid model. I like to think of it as a flexible map but at the core it is simply an invitation to attune inward, listen to the wisdom of your body and life, and learn to trust and honour what you hear. My Seasonal Mindfulness Journals are a gentle way to lean into both the outer and inner season you’re in.
Learn more about the 52 Mondays series of Seasonal Mindfulness Journals – click here.
I WORK WITH 6 CYCLES OR SEASONS – HERE ARE FOUR:
Month: Gibbous moon (being) to full moon (doing) *different people might lunar track differently; this is what works for me, ovulation.
Year: What’s happening in the natural world from summer solstice to autumn equinox (northern hemisphere). Daylight hours reach their peak and then begin to wane. The world is verdant, lush, in full-bloom. It might feel like a time of celebration, adventure, heightened energy, saying yes to the messy fullness of life, and productivity. In some corners of the world, there can also be a bit of angst or pressure around summer, and capturing every moment, because it’s so fleeting.
Life Cycle: You might be in a family and/or career building stage of life, figuring out your place in the world, and putting down roots of your own (mid 20s-40s) or in your second summer, reinventing yourself and/or creating, producing, nurturing, guiding. (60s-early 70s).
Emotional, psycho-spiritual seasons of life: non-linear, inner seasons. Summer seasons are characterized by strong yang (doing) energy. Mother archetype. The mother archetype isn’t about birthing children but about birthing and nurturing something. You are in only one inner season at a time while you will often be in multiple different outer seasons at the same time. See below for common characteristics.
Today the world pretends that we live in an eternal summer, by working hard and never resting.Bo Smit
CHARACTERISTICS OF INNER summer SEASONS OF LIFE
If you’re in a “summer season” things are likely moving along fairly steady. This is a ripe and full, “messy” season of life. The people you love are doing well/healthy. Your health is mostly ok. You plod through, doing the right thing, mostly enjoying yourself, but also self-forgetting often. You might feel pulled in myriad directions, lots of people want and need your attention; you’ll benefit from boundary setting, blocking off time for rest, and regular check-ins to stay focused on YOUR priorities and values. When you are healthy and your cup is full, you are better able to love and serve others.
In late spring and early summer you may have the experience of trying on different identities for size or choose to lay down parts of yourself for a season as you tend to or nurture others. Late summer you may go through a time of discontent that calls you forward into deeper growth, and more fully becoming your True Self. Truth-telling about what you want and need. This is an important season of individuation – sifting through the conditioning you’ve been handed, realizing that you don’t have to hold the line or maintain the status quo if it’s not serving you.
If you’re in ‘Second Summer’ (60s and early 70s), your life may be just as full as in your ‘First Summer’ but more intentional or focused. You’re using your voice, owning your strength and leadership, thriving and enjoying your life, and doing the work you feel most deeply called to.
This is a time to water what matters to you, bring it to life, nurture, and grow. Expand your capacity, reclaim your voice, pour out your gifts. Late summer, all your hard and dedicated work is coming to fruition. Notice that. Own that. Direct energy outward into healthy relationships, inspiring and values-aligned projects, and meaningful, inspiring work. Energy gradually shifts into more yin/being, turning inward, and introspection as you move towards autumn.
This is a good time for some visioning work – I find that around the winter solstice and summer solstice, it’s a good idea to check in with our goals and life vision and make sure we’re feeling aligned or on course, and pivot as needed. I take a full birthday week for this and it’s my favourite time of year!
Summer seasons can be times of expansion and stretching beyond the current limitations of your vision and capacity. You have work to do so that you can use your voice with confidence and feel empowered, safe, and joyful in your body and life. You may have a sense of shedding a new skin or a desire to burst out of your shell into more joy and freedom. There’s more adventure ahead.
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