I was working on article earlier this week for a natural medicine clinic I write for, and the first sentence I wrote was this: The best way to stay healthy according to Chinese medicine is to learn the nature of each season and live in harmony with it.
Since I speak fluent metaphor, I didn’t read this only as: it’s winter, go put on a jumper, but also as: you’re raising small kids, expect sacrifice.
In autumn, we wear scarves and finish up projects and begin to turn our focus inward. In winter, we eat warm, hearty foods and wear socks and stay in to replenish our reserves. In spring, we move our bodies and eat lighter foods. In summer, we energize ourselves with new projects, with change and growth and we eat cooling foods.
There are seasons to every life. Resting seasons and moving seasons, child-rearing seasons and seasons of personal endeavours, neat seasons and messy seasons, on seasons and off seasons, hard seasons and breezy seasons. Our greatest shot at happiness is learning the nature of each so that living in harmony looks a gracious acceptance rather than an obligatory phase to barrel through.
The feeling of entitlement I have for seasons I’m not in is – for me – the greatest threat to my wellbeing. If during winter, all we do is will it to be warm, to complain about the cold as if how dare it be cold, we will waste the entire season being unhappy. And not only that, we’ll rob ourselves of the beautiful things than can only be found in winter. Like yellow beanies. And thick cosy blankets.
I think of this when I’m dreaming of the kind of freedom I had before kids. When I’m feeling a nostalgic entitlement for it, when I’m up to my elbows in silent thankless service and have little to show for my efforts – no paycheck, no promotion, no ‘great job scrubbing that toilet bowl’.
The nature of this season I’m in is messy inconveniences and needy love and tying shoelaces and floors covered in bits of apple. It’s consuming care and asking ‘why?’ 19 times before breakfast. It’s menial domestic chores which have me screaming against my righteousness to be more.
My living in harmony with it is the only thing that will – and does – make it is great as it is. In the end, this boils down to one thing: acceptance for it, even the bits I don’t like.
Because above all, I want to be here for it, these fleeting seasons of my life. They will carry out whether I pay attention to them or not and I’m afraid to not realise the worth of them until long after they’ve passed. What a waste. I want to run out into the cold and bury my feet in the snow, even if the ice burns. I want to take the sharp air into my lungs, if only to know what it feels like. And I want to look up and around, taking in the bare trees, the sparse horizon, the ice on the grass blades and know they too have their beauty.
There’s another season coming. There always is. So we live fully inside the ones we’re in, knowing they each have their place. And that they are worth clutching onto with both hands, such is the gift they are.
Friday Photo Dump – my Instagram Small Happies (theredtent on IG if you want to follow the feed).
And that brings us to Friday eve. Happy weekending, sisters.