There are times when healing and growth come with exquisite ease for me. I can feel the broken places knitting themselves back together and can catch glimpses of the gold forming in the resulting scars.
I can see fresh, green growth emerging right before my eyes as I move toward the light of the person I hope to become.
In times like this, it all seems so effortless, like a gentle unfolding of what's meant to be, and I'm convinced that I've finally turned some magical corner in life such that this ease of growth and healing will continue unabated from there on out.
It never does, though.
Time after time, that ease falls away. Healing slows to a snail's pace and sometimes even seems to begin unraveling. All that fresh, green growth can seem to wither and fall away in the face of some new challenge.
In those times, I'm convinced that I've failed. I'm sure that I've lost all that goodness that flourished with such ease, and nothing but barren hard work with little to show for it lies ahead.
In actuality, neither my perceived ultimate success nor my perceived failure is accurate.
Personal growth and healing operate much like the seasons do in the natural world.
There are seasons when everything seems fresh and new, and green growth seems to be sprouting everywhere we look.
There are seasons of lush abundance when our growth and healing are thriving, and the fruits of our labor seem apparent and readily available.
There are seasons when all that green growth seems to wither and fall away.
And there are seasons of seeming barrenness when nothing appears to be growing or alive.
While these seasons are less regular and predictable than those of the natural world, they are nonetheless just as impermanent and ever-cycling. We may not know how long each season will last, but each one will pass in time on to the next season.
The important thing to remember, especially in those seasons when growth and healing seem to have slowed and died, is that what we are able to see is never the whole story.
Even in the barrenness of winter when all seems dead and lost, there is still a lot of important work going on beneath the surface.
It is during this time that root systems are expanded for better anchoring. Past growth is consolidated and strengthened under the surface. New roots are grown in preparation for supporting future growth.
We are not so different.
We need those times of seeming barrenness (on the surface) to give ourselves time to solidify our own previous growth and healing and to expand our capacity for the next stage of growth.
It's not failure, and it's not nearly as devoid of growth as it seems. In fact, these slow times can be wonderful opportunities to feed our minds with knowledge and water our souls with inspiration and encouragement that will fuel the next season of growth when it comes.
The key is to not lose hope as the seasons change. When we can relax with ease into each season as it comes, it's possible to find blessings in each season and value the gifts each season brings to our growth and healing.
As we approach the Autumn Equinox later this week in the northern hemisphere and the green growth of summer begins to wither and fall away to make way for the seeming barrenness of winter, it's a good time to use this change of seasons as a reminder of your own internal seasons of growth and healing.
If you are in your own personal season of autumn or winter, may this time encourage you to be patient with yourself and your process. Spring will come again with more visible growth in time.
And if you are in your own personal season of spring or summer with their ease of growth, may this time remind you to be gentle with yourself when your own autumn approaches and growth seems to go underground.
Have you ever stopped to consider the seasons of growth and healing in your life?
What season are you in right now? How comfortable are you with the season you are in?
How might considering these processes as following seasons help you to be more comfortable with their unfolding?
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