In February on the Falls Creek - Hotham multiday hike with my daughter, Tiana.
I’m turning 42yo later this week and whilst I lack the anguish of ageing, the sensation that sits within me, like a bubbling spring, is curiosity.
Reflectively curious as to the apparent wormhole that I’ve journeyed through the past few decades since I was a young adult. In my formative early 20s rocking a baby to sleep whilst my then friends removed the connection to their hippocampus, in what they called a ‘good night’.
Curious as to the path taken from yesteryear through the muddy trenches, crawling through the thick and prickly and into my 30’s where the hard work didn’t stop but the sun shone brighter on most days, and to where I find myself today.
Deliciously content with life in this moment.
It is of course by nature, impermanent, just like the seasons.
I’m diving into the deep well of introspection, awash in the choices I’ve made, both good and bad, and how they have shaped who I am and my beliefs about the most important person – myself. The younger me, naïve and easily led, had no firm sense of self, allowing others to contaminate her mind. Whilst I no longer recognise her as me, the pain has coordinates in my physical body, scars on my skin and in my heart. I find the ‘hooks’ occasionally of conditioning, abuse, and cognitive disturbances, and lovingly remove them, allowing the wound to heal stronger than if there were no hook at all.
It’s a power play I’ve developed that no traditional therapy could cure. The work came from within me by facing challenges and doing hard things. Resistance grows our mindset as lifting weights does for our muscles.
You could say I am ‘seasoned’. I’m experienced having cycled through these feelings, and experiences and making sense of the underlying message that I needed to learn.
It’s the seasons of our lives that are mirrored in the seasons of nature. We are one and the same. When we are true to where we are and live aligned with the natural cycles, we experience a greater sense of self. This brings contentment, of ease. Isn’t this what we are all yearning for?
The biggest existential crisis we face as humans is, ‘Who am I, what is this all for?’
Whilst I can’t answer that question for you, I can tell you that spending time in nature helps us to make sense of the world around us and what our role is in this life. When we walk the same trail in different seasons, things sure look different, and feel different – they are different. Humans echo this sentiment.
Throughout our lives, we cycle through seasons of crisis and achievement, growth and failure, and happiness and suffering. We are like the seasons on Earth, constantly circling.
So much of our pain and suffering comes from attachment to things, beliefs, people, or places in time, all of which are impermanent. When we spend time connecting to the natural cycles in our environment, we are reminded that each season has significance, and we too are part of that cycle.
Immersed in nature throughout the shifting seasons provides an opportunity to witness firsthand the effects this has on body, mind, and spirit.
Hiking holds a profound effect on me. There are times when I am on the trail questioning why I do this to myself, breathlessly (cheers covid) wishing for a rest to come. Then I reach the summit, the perspective shifts and I can see the challenges I’d overcome and appreciate the obstacles as the mental training circuit it is. I feel stronger, accomplished, and confident that I can achieve what I set my mind to. Hiking isn’t about pleasure all the time, it's about working hard for the best views. Often, many seasons in one day.
So, what are the seasons of our human journey?
Autumn is representative of earth-toned confetti falling gracefully to their end. The final attachment to their life source is disconnected, having no purpose to serve as the tree draws sugars (life source) inwards in preparation for the winter. Cooler temperatures and shorter days herald the change.
What has come to an end for you? What are you ready to let go of to honour your autumn season?
The cooler days of Autumn are great for getting out on the trails and witnessing the depth of colours, often changing daily.
Significant for the harshness of biting cold winds, rainy days, and hardship. Deprived of the warmth of the sun, days can become a little bleak – as such this is reflected in our moods this time of year.
Our spiritual season of winter inspires an introspective period. Bring awareness of any cold, harsh or negative emotions that creep in- how can you compassionately convey this?
To avoid SAD- Seasonal Affective disorder – the depression and low energy associated with darker days and little sun exposure, make sure you take a walk outside a few times a week and soak up any sun whilst boosting endorphins.
Symbolic of new beginnings, Spring is the season when the seeds we planted in winter, push through the earth and bloom in the warm sunshine. It’s associated with renewal, fresh starts, and growth.
The spiritual season of spring welcomes new beginnings, increased energy, and growth. Consider where you can focus your increased energy and start afresh.
Spring walks among the wildflowers are a fantastic way to honour your season and reflect on the new ways in which you are growing.
As the sun peaks at its hottest in summer, so too does our growth and development attain their greatest strength. We can reap the benefits of the progress throughout our prevailing seasons in summer. As you harvest, be mindful to continue the work and weed out what isn’t required. We can enjoy our fruits but make sure you aren’t eating a worm in that apple.
Soaking up the goodness of a spiritual summer? Find balance and be mindful not to overindulge in a good thing, a new season is always coming.
Earth’s cyclical seasons herald physical transformation and hold great symbolism for those deeply connected to our environment. The same seasons are occurring in each one of us, honouring our intrinsic seasons allows us to live more mindfully, more aligned with our purpose and have a greater sense of contentment.
Supported by the seasonal autumn symbolism, I walk the path aware of the disconnect from things that I no longer want to hold onto. Gripping tightly to things that aren’t for me and honouring the ease that comes with knowing who I am and who I am not. It’s the gift I give myself each year for my birthday.
As hiking does for my holistic health, each year I spiritually travel the peaks and valleys.
Unearthing lessons like the cold harshness of winter on my skin through hardships that test my resilience. Appreciating moments of pure happiness like the summer sun warming through to my bones, knowing it too will pass in time.
Leaning in with love as the parts of me that no longer align, fall away like the leaves on an autumn tree.
Grateful for the journey as new growth appears from the depths of the earth, seeds sown now grown into the beauty of spring.
All the while, I stay curious.