Here in the valley, the shift into Autumn is obvious. But I guess that even if you’re an urbanite, the extra layer you’re wearing, or lights coming on earlier in the evening, speaks of entering a new season.
So is this more of the same with a little adjustment? Something you can drift into, making incremental changes? Or is it a more substantial shift, a metaphorical line you need to cross?
For me, probably more than any other since I left university in my mid-20s, this Autumn is definitely a new season.
I am in the process of crossing a line. Stepping from the old, spent Summer, with its dryness and drought, into the extraordinary colours of Autumn. With changing hues and acoustic shift as leaves fall and make a crisp carpet, and the wind starts to sing around the valley.
However, my new season isn’t just external. For me, waking up to a new season is like coming alive again.
Being open to possibilities and permissions, hope and wonder. An invitation to a fuller living that requires me to consciously step over the line into the new season.
Preparing for the new season
In one sense seasons happen to us. None of us controls the rotation of the earth as it turns on its axis. External timetables determine the shape of our days, weeks, and months. Stuff happens.
We can be passive, letting it be so. And sometimes that’s exactly what we need to do. Going with the flow, letting our surroundings and circumstances do their work in us. And in doing so recognising that we are part of something much bigger.
It’s not all about us – me – as an individual.
But this can also be an abdication, particularly if we find ourselves slipping into victimhood. This passivity is dangerous and we become less than ourselves. And parts of us die, prematurely.
So we need to open our eyes and ears and be prepared to look and listen. Often the signs of the coming new season are mute. If we’re rushing too fast or have our heads full of noise, we’ll miss it. And we won’t be ready.
Over the last few months, I’ve been more consciously turning ‘noise’ off. Being much, much more selective about what comes into my orbit.
Practically speaking that meant saying ‘no’ to stuff that wasn’t going to build me up. Turning off news feeds and notifications, not watching or engaging with things automatically.
At the time I thought this was just because I was particularly vulnerable mentally and emotionally following the trauma of recent times. But now I realise that it was also to get me ready for the new season.
Yes, my psychological frailty needed some care and attention. But also some honesty. We couldn’t carry on as we were. We had to change because our life simply wasn’t life-full.
Invitation to the new season
Years ago, when I was a CEO, I used to get frequent invitations to amazing events. Once I had dinner with the Queen – along with many others – in the stunning Brangwyn Hall!
These invitations, beautifully printed, always had instructions on the required dress code. My gorgeous midnight-blue ballgown doesn’t get used much these days, but I still feel wonderful wearing it, even now.
Likewise stepping into a new season often requires us to put on, or put off, particular clothes.
What we wear – internally or externally – does affect how we are and how we feel. Internally, it’s the person we tell ourselves we are. Externally, it’s how we and others experience who we are. It does make a world of difference.
So who am I stepping into in my new season? I’m still Sue: wife of Steve, sister of Jules, friend… Creative host, thinking partner, emerging writer, alpaca owner… But am I these in worn-out rags, with not much left to give?
Or is there the gift of newness, of generosity and life found in different places? Of friends who will replenish me – if I let them – and new clothes (metaphorically speaking) for a new season?
Sometimes we just need to clear out the channels to let the water in.
So Steve and I are currently working through each area of our life. Seeing what needs to be discarded. What needs to be simplified. And what needs fresh colour, whatever that may mean for us.
I do believe that we are entering a new season, and maybe this is not just for us. We have had time in the darkness, when we did need ‘to lie down and bleed a while’, as in St Barton’s Ode. But now is the time to carefully and consciously rise up again and walk into the new day. Whatever that might bring.
Thanks for being with us on the journey.
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