Change of seasons


I think I am not the only one who finds this period of the year overwhelming. After the long summer break, there is, for most of us, a return to the frenzy which we have come to associate with everyday reality. Envy is not a feeling that I easily identify with, as I prefer to locate resources within me rather than imagine others have them and I don’t, but when looking at various pictures on social media of people still being on holiday in warm places, I wish I were there or at least that life could be more care free. But do I? Really? I think what I truly wish for is that I don’t allow the feelings of overwhelm that I invariably experience in this time of year, which many call the true new year, to take over and twist my perception and my sense of perspective. This is easier said than done of course!

From being in a position to hear many stories in my consulting room, but also through talking to friends, I think it would be fair to say that this year the change of seasons from summer to the autumn and the beginning of the work year for most of us has been particularly overwhelming. We live in the so-called post pandemic era and we badly want to resume what we left behind two and a half years ago; meeting in person with family and friends; travelling; going to work; going to conferences; going to crowded bars and restaurants; giving hugs without having to think twice. And yet, the world is just not the same place it was before covid 19 took over our lives and spread ripples of collective trauma across all continents. Many of us agree that the world is still in a very dark place politically, economically and cross-culturally, so the so-called post pandemic era may sound mostly like a euphemism.

So how can we flow with change and begin to address the deprivation we have all been through, when we are still facing such stark realities externally and internally? What I mean by that is that not only the world is still by common admission in a dark and frightening state, but we are all still deeply wounded by what has gone on in the last two and a half years. Each of us has their own stories of trauma of course. The metaphor that comes to mind is of a cat licking its wounds. We all have the innate ability to self-soothe and even to heal, but healing is neither a given not guaranteed when the wounds run deep. The danger of further infections and complications is apt.

Overall, I am not one to connect with nature in its rural sense, as my upbringing and propensities are deeply urban. And yet, when I am thinking about the change of seasons from summer into autumn not only literally, but also as a metaphor for how life is in that there is always change we need to adapt to, I cannot help but think that finding our own rhythms in order to connect with nature may be the best way to respond to the frenzy and overwhelm we are currently facing. So, rather than prolonging our holiday to warm places, we can begin to wear our pullovers and boots, to notice the leaves turning yellow and orange, to delight with any rainfall and chill after a summer of intense heat and draught. We can nourish our bodies with warm foods, such as seasonal soups and stews and begin to gather round the kitchen table, where banter can be found. I think when we can synchronise better with this flow internally and externally, life and its complexities, may seem somewhat easier to navigate.

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