Living by the seasons.

26 September 2022

Did you sense some sadness or grief when you began school this year? Or when you noticed that the trees in Groningen have slowly begun to become more brown. Did you feel yourself changing as the rain hasn’t left our side in the past couple of days?

Nowadays we have gotten (and continue to get) more out of touch with nature. We use google maps instead of the stars to locate ourselves, our alarm clock wakes us up instead of sunlight and we feel as though we no longer depend on nature to survive. However, there is one way we still (unknowingly) live in harmony with nature. And that is living by the seasons.

What does it mean, living by the seasons? And how can you become more aware of it?

Each season represents a certain feeling and time for us. A great example of this is September. Each year, for most of us, this month and time of the year marks a long of change for us. Whether this is starting a new school year, internship, your first job… September pushes us to ground ourselves in a new place.

September marks the first month of autumn. It is a month that can bring about a lot of anxiety, due to the obligations that suddenly greet you after a carefree summer. Autumn represents the season of letting go. As we enter this season, often the question that tends to come up is “what do or can we release?”. It is a time to reflect on what no longer serves us. Does your sleeping pattern, social life and other habits align with your school schedule, deadlines and activities? We tend to feel more nostalgic because of the letting go process. A way to make space for the autumn season in your life is to allow yourself enough rest, space and time to reflect, feel and let go. Good activities for this time of the year are decluttering your wardrobe, journaling frequently, revisit old pictures, watching shows during those rainy afternoons and maybe call your parents a little more.

After Autumn we greet Winter. For a lot of people this marks a difficult time. Not only is there less sunlight, which our body naturally craves, but in winter we have the holiday period coming up. There is a lot of expectation, hope and grief that presents itself during this time, which for many isn’t always easy to deal with. Whereas in summer celebration comes to us more effortlessly, in Winter it can feel as though celebration should be felt, but with the cold most of us might crave to actually have silence, peace or rest. This causes the celebration to become more forced or stressful. You can invite winter into your life by slowing down and creating stillness for yourself in this season. With stillness, space is created for something new. After December there is a period of “nothingness”. The holidays have passed and a lot of us tend to fall into a slump or get stuck here. In this time, allow new ideas and dreams to be born. When they do, we suddenly have a seed to plant in our lives. Which will eventually lead us to Spring.

Spring is the time of rebirth. You often hear people doing a Spring cleaning, so there is space for new things to be born, grow and emerge. After we come out of our Winter, the seeds we have planted can begin to blossom. The new school semester starts and we feel as though we have a clean slate. The pain that surfaced in Winter can evaporate in the sunlight that has come back to our lives. In Spring we do tend to feel restless. We are waiting for the bloom. Things are about to be born, creative projects, but also in nature we are waiting for the first flowers to pop out of the ground, trees to regain their colour. Spring, like Autumn, is a transitional season. But opposed to Autumn in this season we can ask ourselves “what do I want to invite into my life?” rather than what do we release. We say goodbye to what felt stagnant for us in Winter and invite more joy into our lives.

Great activities during this time are redecorating, Spring cleaning, painting (or other creative endeavours), making new plans with new friends and going outside more. 

After we have slowly come back to life, we emerge in Summer. We no longer have the obligations that school adds to our days. It is time to celebrate. To live. To fully emerge in life’s richness. This is why it is often the season of traveling. We feel a desire to experience, whether these are beautiful sceneries, good foods or simply soaking up the sunshine. The weather is warmer and so are our hearts. Recommended for this season is to step away from your screens, surround yourself with people and nature, indulge yourself in new experiences and nourish your body. Ask yourself in this season “what can I celebrate for myself?”.