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Meadowbrook Country Club
2149 N. Green Bay Road
Racine, WI 53405

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Deep Listening to the Cycles of Life

In a climate where we experience four seasons, there is a rhythm to the cycles of life reflected yearly in the world around us. This cycle of birth, grown, decline and death offers us balance and wholeness, if we would simply pay attention and listen deeply to all they have to teach us. Within the lessons is the voice of the Divine that flows through all space and time saying “I am here with you. Learn from me. Grow in me. Rest in me. Die in me."

The Teacher who wrote Ecclesiastes reminds us that life itself is comprised of many different experiences, and that we, as human beings, don’t get to avoid them. In this life there is birth and death, war and peace, love and hate, building up and tearing down, and so much more. There is a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing (which I find fascinating that he chose to name that and it is so appropriate now!) Each life will experience all of these things in one way or another. There is a season for everything.

There are many spiritual authors today who affirm that there is an existential ache, a yearning within each of us that struggles to find equilibrium. Perhaps that equilibrium is to be found in listening to the cycles of our lives through listening to the seasons.

Often we hear our lives defined in terms of seasons. When we’re young, maybe even into our 20s, we’re in the spring of our lives. When we’re in our 20s, 30s and 40s, 50s, we’re in the summer of our lives. In our 60s and 70s we’ve hit autumn and after that winter starts to set in. Obviously these numbers are somewhat subjective and can vary person to person, but you get the gist. The fallacy is that we only experience these seasons at these ages.

Sure, there is one grand overarching trajectory, but within it there are many, many cycles of birth, growth, decline and death. We can find ourselves in the cycles of life and learn from them if we listen closely by being present, aware, non-judgmental, and focused. Each season has its spiritual energy from which we can draw strength, courage and lessons to help us live wholehearted lives.

Spring - the energy of spring is that of new growth, new life, hope, joy, renewal, promise, opening, awakening, resurrection, beginnings and visioning. It is exciting, vibrant, bursting with possibilities and joy.

Summer - the energy of summer is growth, abundance, light, transformation, journeying, beauty, and ripening. It is warm and encouraging, generative and fulfilling; a feeling of accomplishment and bringing ideas to fruition. 

Fall - the energy of fall is that of diminishing, endings, letting go, gratitude and harvest, the waning of the light, loss and grief. It is a bittersweet energy. We experience gratitude for the harvests of our lives, the things we’ve grown and enjoyed. Plus, we see the amazing beauty of the leaves, but this is tempered by the knowledge that they will be letting go of their branches soon and dying. We have no choice but to surrender to the process of letting go.

Winter - the energy of winter is about going within. It is about hibernation, lying fallow and death.The energy of winter is very quiet and introspective. It may also be very sad, lonely and empty. This may be a dark troubling time, or a dark nurturing time.

There is a time in life for each season. This is the rhythm of life, not necessarily good or bad, it just is. It’s up to us to look for the gifts in each season, or channel the energy of seasons that bring us what we need.

I may be in my 50s and technically in the late summer of my life physically as the rhythms of my body change, but there are plenty of ways that I can still learn and grown.  New birth is possible when I try new things and stretch myself with new experiences. And then I feel the energy of that new birth.

I moved both my dad and my second mom into assisted living facilities this year. For both of them it was that autumn season of letting go, of declining health, of change, and probably a movement into their winter season. I know it hasn’t been easy to accept that he’s entering the winter of his life. Yet, even now he is planting new seeds of friendship, compassion and understanding. Plus he’s learned to make really big bubbles and is enjoying puzzles! He’s taking the gifts that are present rather than constantly lamenting what he doesn’t have anymore. He's also reading spiritual books about the end of life and learning from the lessons winter has to offer.

Listen deeply to the season in the outside world right now and the wisdom autumn has to offer.

Listen deeply to the season within you.

How will they guide you? How will they teach you?

What gifts do they have to offer you?

This is the spiritual journey and the Divine Spirit is with us every step of the way.

Love & Light!