There are different lengths of times for different cycles and seasons. Some cycles are long and some are quite brief. A cycle circumambulate around the center. The center is purpose. The center is what holds the cycle together while it cycles around. In a sense, purpose is the gravitational force or glue. It helps to have to understand or at least have a concept of the purpose of a cycle. Begin at discovering the purpose, passion or task of the cycle.
How do we discover the purpose? Begin by asking questions. Questions: Such as why am I here and for what purpose? What am I to learn? What am I to offer/give? What are my passions? What am I to do with this opportunity? What do I love? What is the task to do now?
Cycle of a life
The soul has 4 seasons in a lifetime, spring, summer, fall and winter. Spring is from birth to young adulthood (0-28 years of age). Summer is adulthood (28-56 years). Fall is for enjoying the fruit of your labor (ages 56-84). And winter is for preparing for the big travel opportunity.
Spring, is about learning, skills development and growing in to who we are as a fully functioning adult with all the responsibilities and freedoms. Generally a person does not have full executive frontal lobe functioning until their mid-late 20’s; women mature earlier in this capacity at 25-26 and men are abit later at age 27-28. It not until the late 20’s and early 30’s that people are ready and have the capacity to understand and fully appreciate the course of their actions, are able to make informed commitments to them self and others. During the spring we learn about our self, how to navigate and negotiate the physical, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects of our self and others.
The summer (ages 28-56) is about using the knowledge and skills that were developed during the spring, toward application of purpose or opportunity. Adulthood is about actualizing or manifesting our purpose. It is about using the opportunity. Imagine a garden in summer, it is full of activity. There is growing, blooming, pollination, weeds, bugs, watering and fertilizing. However despite the various challenges and distractions it is about using the opportunity to manifest your passion, purpose and contribution.
The fall (ages 58-84) is about harvesting, reaping the fruits and sharing. Often we think about passing along our assets to our children or perhaps establishing a “legacy” gift or foundation. However it can also be figuring out what and how to pass along good seeds to the future. Which might as simple as in the form of writing, poetry, teaching, family stories or recipes and etc. This often involves contemplating about what are the truly important things in life. Sometimes we miss the opportunity to think about or take the time and ask for the seeds….until it’s too late. In our fast paced culture that often forgets to consider the history. It is important to take the opportunity to know some history so that we don't repeat mistakes.
The recent retirement of several close colleague emphasizes this. They each had over 40 years of mental health experience and in each case the agency/organization failed to recognize or utilize them as mentors and thus did not take the opportunity to pair them up with young professionals. It’s truly unfortunate for young professionals and the agencies to merely let these seasoned professionals go without harvesting the fruit of their many years of experience.
In the Winter of life, it is ideally a time of graceful appreciation, blessing and letting go. It is mixed with a joyful acknowledgement of life, a time for noting thankfulness, a time of forgiving and gratefulness. However, for some it may be a time of fear, horror of regrets and holding on instead of a release, unburdening or enlightening.
Cycle of the Day.
What is the ebb and flow to your day? Does the alarm goes off, hit the button once or twice and then its off to the races. Jump out of bed, brush teeth, shower, dressed, quick cup of coffee and out the door to work. A harried lunch, a quick phone call to check in with family…and what to do about dinner? After work, run to do an errand, stop by the grocery store, fix dinner, clean up and now fall asleep in front of the TV. Ahhhh what a life…yeah right!
During the past few years I’ve developed a daily rhythm with spring, summer, fall and winter seasons during the day. When waking (late winter/early spring), I'll continue to lie in bed in a semi lucid dream/twilight state. While in this imaginal state, I just let ideas and thoughts embellish and flow without critique. Then when arising, I will jot down a few notes to remind me of ideas and concepts when I return to write. While drinking morning coffee or tea I will review the various tasks to attend to during the day, make a general plan of action along with a list. However, I will also figure out what is that one thing I can do, to get me where I want to be in 3 days/weeks/months/years; and make it a priority to do that 1 thing. Perhaps it’s a phone call, schedule a meeting, and write an email or whatever.
Then its time to get busy (summer), attend to the list and start checking off items on the list. Sometimes the actions are investigative (digging), eliminate distractions (weeding) or attentive focus (watering or feeding). There are many gardening activities like cultivating, grafting, supporting, protecting from pests and etc. that are possible. At times everything goes smoothly and other times the plan goes awry. When things are not going according to plan; one of the important things to recognize is “knowing when its time to stop, give it a rest and comeback later…before you make things worse.” It’s like the first part of the Serenity Prayer… by Reinhold Niebuhr
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
The evening is the fall. After doing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen; its time to enjoy some other passions like spending time with family and friends, reading, playing guitar, working on other little projects and etc.
Bed time is the winter. Take a few minutes before falling asleep to review what has been accomplished and what remains to be done. Perhaps acknowledge a particular problem or struggle and then let it go with the expectation that a solution will be worked out during your sleep, that your unconscious will come up with a creative solution. Then surrender, let go and get some restful sleep.
Cycle of a Project or Task
Eggplant parmesan example: I love eggplant parmesan, one day I decided why go to a restaurant for to have it (late winter a seed germinates and inspiration). After looking at a few recipes, made a list and went to the grocery store (spring). At home, make the sauce, bread and fry the eggplant, grate cheeses and put it all together (summer). Dinner; sharing and enjoying the eggplant parmesan, a baguette and salad with family and friends (fall). And, while cleaning up and washing dishes, (the winter), thinking about how to improve the next attempt at making eggplant parmesan.
There are different sizes and lengths of times for different cycles and seasons. Some cycles are long and some are quite brief. Let’s begin at the center of a cycle. The center is purpose. Underlying purpose is the why and what. And the why and what is our passion or love. The center is what holds the cycle together while it is spins or cycles around. In a sense, purpose is the gravitational force or glue...and that is our passion/love. It helps to have an understanding of the central purpose of a cycle.
Knowing and understanding there are cycles and seasons helps orient to what needs to be done today, what we learned yesterday and what to do tomorrow. Understanding this is how we get from imagination to creating to realization/actualizing our world.