Driving through town this weekend I was incredibly struck by the number of people raking leaves with a determined expression. The mission for the day apparently to get every sign of Fall off their lawn…to “clean it up”. The same people, I imagine who own weed eaters and lawn mowers and experience shame when their grass grows “too high”. Where did this aesthetic come from? I believe it comes from the shadow within that is equally uncomfortable with death and growth. There is also that societal pressure to keep up with the neighbors. After all what do “people” think of the person in the neighborhood who allows leaves to mulch on their lawn, or the grass to have its innate growth? Is this the same society that wants our girls and women to be of diminuitive size, our men to be burly and stoic, our middle ages to show no signs of those years? Our deaths to be hidden, locked away and silent? Our cycles to be kempt and unwild?

How comfortable can you be with the cycles of nature, and therefore with the cycles within you? The natural places of falling, mulching, sitting, rebirth and growth? All these cycles are necessary, none less powerful and perfect than the others. What does it touch within you to see on your lawn? Does it make you uncomfortable to see the growth, the mud, the death, or the purity of the snow? What does this speak about your process and how can you become more comfortable?

How can you stand in the challenge of being with the season within rather than fighting it? What are your internal cycles?

Can you allow the growth of the summer days, the fiery sun warming and recharging your soul’s passions. What do you crave? Are you forming connections and reveling in the soft green grasses and flowing rivers of your cycles? Are you standing beneath the summer sky and peering into your vastness? Alive in the possibility and manifestations of this life? What steps forward are you making towards that part of you that stands in the sun and shares that sun with its community? Do you need to decorate your lawn or are you enough?

Can you feel the brilliant colors of Fall, the last harvests of the summer, or are you dreading the darkness and pushing it away? Can you allow the leaves of your life to fall where they may, and know that there is an intelligence to what we must shed and let go. Trees teach us to let go in beauty and presence, without judgment that all they have grown last cycle is moving on. Moving on to become part of the rich soil that provides more growth. What are you composting? What have you shed or are you willing to shed to provide rich foundational soil for your life?

Can you feel the cold darkness of winter and welcome it? Be with the silence and the purity, the natural inclination to go within, be with your winter self, nurture it! Mourn what you’ve let go and stand in this transition. Honor what has passed, hold ceremony. This is not “depression”, this is a natural cycle of dark days and internal knowings. A time to rekindle the fire within, turn up the heat and listen to your soul. It is okay for you to rest. Rest does not make you lazy or depressed. Follow your body’s truth and inclinations during this precious time of nurturance.

Know too, that regrowth happens after this cycle, and that a full and rich Spring is ahead. A time to blossom and come into the light. Bring into the light that which you have been tending in the dark. Stand in your bud or in your full bloom and revel in it. It is beautiful and you have permission to unfold in new ways. Smell the new air and feel the cleansing rain rinsing from you the programmed shame or boredom of hibernation. Let your body move through the mud as slowly or as playfully as you desire. Make a mudpie, get your feet deep into the mud and dance with your sisters! Mother earth loves your play.

I invite you to listen, listen deeply. When you question your cycles, look to nature for guidance. She is our wise woman.