It was Jen Carrington who first introduced the idea. She spoke of the ‘seasons of life’ in one of her podcasts. It truly resonated with me, she presented the idea that we can be living and working in seasons – of hustle, of struggle, or rest.
She described a season of struggle like this: “We can be burned out from an intense season of hustle or things can be wildly out of our control like a health crisis or grief, where we don’t have that forward moving energy in our lives.”
The reason I resonate with this idea is that it gives us permission. We don’t need to feel lazy or useless when we are in a season of rest. And we don’t need to feel distraught when we are in a season of struggle. We will regain our strength and determination again. We will be highly productive and creative … again.
Quite obviously I am in a season of struggle, definitely feeling burned out from producing and showing and engaging in an expanded way… and grieving, yes grieving still … the recent loss of my mother.
“I didn’t plan for this!” – Although it seemed like I had been losing my mother for many years and certainly had much time to prepare, I was not at all prepared for how I would feel. At first, I was scaling through every stage of grief multiple times each day. Now, months later, I find myself going from completely distraught to numb.
My instinct dictates I hide and quietly endure the pain of it all.
But I have learned that my instinct does not always serve me. I have also learned to step back and analyze what might serve me best.
I know that there is no predetermined amount of time for this type season as there are environmental seasons. It could last a few weeks, a few months, or a year. I also know that I am forced to slow down and embrace it.
I have chosen to let it be and gently direct this season of struggle to a season of rest and a point of contemplation.
Essential, though strangely difficult at times. I am hard wired to produce, rest and stillness are something I must work at and practice.
Last Saturday afternoon it was surprising to again realize how different types of photography practices can contribute to our essential needs. In this case, it was the practice of creating simple still life shots using only a few flowers, one vase, and shadows. It was a ‘meditative practice’ if you will. Focusing on a few petals and the simplicity of the shapes quieted my mind and restored my energy. Amazing really, how such a simple thing can be so restorative.
I purposely left plenty of empty space in the images, a metaphor for what I must do in the next few weeks. To allow time again for reflection and contemplation, to gather my thoughts and get them organized for what lies ahead.
Stillness and contemplation are essential for the creative mind. The alpha brain waves present while daydreaming or during deep relaxation are an essential part of contracting creative thought. It is there that new pathways are formed to allow for inspiration. It programs the mind for success and heightens your imagination, visualization, and concentration.
And so … I must work less and dream more in these days.
A post on brainwaves and their connection with flow state can be found here.
Listen to Jen Carrington’s Living and Working in Seasons podcast here.