We’re in the dark days of the year and coming up next week is the shortest day, the winter solstice. Winter is a time for taking stock, nourishing the seeds of new things, and the stalks of others that we aren’t finished developing yet, that we want to keep and grow. It’s a time of letting go of things that need to be recycled into something else. And often that is not direct, but an energetic recycling.
If we have been “nourishing” or putting energy towards something that we have come to realize has run its course, then it is time to let that go. The energy and thought and attention we put there can be put elsewhere and whatever that was goes back out into the ether to fuel someone else’s growth. In that way, we can view these things as neutral, or potentially positive, instead of negative or destructive. It’s what we do or don’t do with them and how we choose to view them. We can say “Okay, that worked for a while, now my story with that person/thing/habit is over.” Maybe it’s over completely, maybe just in its current form. These things may have once been “positive” (I prefer the term growth oriented): what you needed during that time in your life, to learn or grow from, to support your evolution.
Sometimes, as with people and relationships, your paths diverge. Your story together has been written and there’s not much else to say. Sometimes the struggle and learning you go through and grow from in a challenging relationship delivers you to a point where you recognize and are ready to say “That’s enough. I’m stronger/wiser/know myself better now. I learned what that needed to teach me, and now I’m ready to move on so I can grow more. If I continue here, then I probably won’t.” In that way, we can view things traditionally or by habit seen as negative, as opportunities to stretch, grow, learn, and become resilient.
But here’s the thing: life is always happening, we are meant to evolve, to adapt, and in order to do that we must grow and growth involves discomfort and pain and uncertainty. Life can be smooth sailing at times but it is often going to involve a lot of struggle and discomfort if we want to have a rich, meaningful, purposeful life. It is to be expected. When you go into the dark, seize that opportunity to mine it. There is always light on the other side, a part of a dark-light/death-birth-rebirth cycle all around us, reflected by and tied to the change in the seasons. If you want something to change in your life, if you want something different, then something in it has to die and be recycled into something else, just like animals and plants and we humans die, and in doing so give life to something else. It’s unavoidable. But also exquisitely beautiful and profound. This is the way Life continues, life from generation to generation in the natural world and within your own life.
If you are having trouble seeing or letting go of things it is time to let go of in your life, you can set an intention to find out what this is and/or how to do this and then go for a walk, preferably somewhere in nature and away from cars, streets and lots of human-built things. The rhythm of your pace, the sounds, the smells and sights around you combined with the physical activity can open up a flow state in the mind and soul. And if you can listen, you’ll often find answers to what you’re looking for or at least a start. Another simple activity you can do to catalyze this letting go is to get rid of things cluttering up your space. These things that you don’t use anymore and have no plans for, or that don’t resonate with you anymore, or remind you of something you’ve moved on from–move them on. This actual recycling can symbolically trigger the same of bigger, non-tangible things.
Getting Unwrapped Around the Axle
In the dark times when you want to give up the struggle and say “F*$% growth!” if you can decide to always be in touch with your core sense of being enough in this moment, no matter how craptastic it can get sometimes, while you are experiencing these moments or phases you can be sad, or angry or desperate or hopeless or adrift or alone or any other uncomfortable emotion–or all of the above–yet still possess that inner, grounded sense that you are totally 100% enough in that moment, that you are a work in progress and are supposed to be just that. You are not broken or a dud, you are in development. And like any good website and webmaster, you periodically need to post the “maintenance mode” sign on your homepage and update those plug-ins, spam detectors, SSLs, and the content to reflect the current, enough you. NO ONE came here with it all figured out and anyone who says that they’ve got The 411 is probably delusional or full of s$@%.
Also, you do not need anyone else to check this “I am enough” box for you. You do not need any outside approval to be enough, period.
When you approach life this way, negative emotions tend to pass on through comparatively quickly instead of you getting wrapped around the axle. Instead of feeding and spinning into this spiral of relentless negative emotion and perpetuating the mental chatter, when you set the intention to recall the above, that’s what you’ll focus on–that you are enough right now and that these feelings and situations are, in fact, temporary and do not reflect the core of you. Not saying it’s always easy–most of us know all too well just how difficult the seductive siren call of the negative spiral can be to resist–but it is simple, and with practice, it can become more easy and natural, maybe eventually second nature. I am definitely a work in progress on all of this and more, and that’s enough for me.