I was contemplating a photo I took the other day, the one above, of leaves on the ground. Patterns, colours all came alive to me in that little composition, but it wasn’t until now that the real draw of these random leaves came to me.
I was considering the feeling that Autumn brings, a closing down the shutters, a drawing inwards, self-reflection coupled with a desire to be ready for the darkness and cold of winter. These instincts are inbuilt, part of our survival mechanism, and as I thought this I realised that they also bring a kind of security, brought about by this natural rhythm that we succumb to, year in year out.
That brought me on to the cycle of the seasons, endings and beginnings, the fear that many people have of change, of endings, and indeed of beginnings.
The sap of a tree begins to rise in late winter, or early spring. This rising life force, fed in part by the decaying matter of last year’s growth causes leaf buds to appear. These buds gradually unfurl and become full grown. They give back to the tree by the use of photosynthesis, helping the tree to grow, to flourish, nourishing it all the while. The leaves cling on when high winds and storms rage, and bask in light when all is peaceful and still. As Autumn approaches they begin to change, transforming into new and beautiful colours, before loosening their grip on that which gave them life, and falling, spiralling to the ground, surrendering to the pull of the darkness of winter, the warm dank, earth, gradually decaying, remerging with the soil as organic matter, feeding new life, new energy, and keeping the cycle going.
We too live this way. Let us use as an example a relationship that begins as a seed of hope. The life force inside you rises, causing your heart to beat faster. The relationship gradually unfolds, becoming something that supports and nourishes you and helps your growth. There are times when it weathers storms, and times of peace and serenity. But eventually things change, the relationship changes its colour, its pattern, parts of it fall away, the relationship itself may fall away. Its’ remains decay, sinking into memory. This memory nourishes us, by teaching us about ourselves, or about others, it takes us through, an often dark time of learning. Yet this darkness brings knowledge and wisdom that once more feeds the life force bringing either new life to an existing relationship, or a new relationship into your life.
For many the process is seen as painful, something to be avoided. Better to cling to the branches of the tree, even when all around us is shouting that this is unnatural and wrong, better to avoid the fall, the decay, because who knows how long it will go on for? The trouble is, there is a season for everything. Holding on when the natural process is telling you to let go, will not help in the long run. It is better to realise that change is needed, something must die back for new energy and life force to emerge. Something must decay so that you can learn, and from that learning grow stronger. The insecurity people feel when they fall, drop from the branch that supported them, should in fact be seen as opportunity to surrender what wasn’t working, learn from it, and grow once more. This process IS the security. Fighting it is actually causing the problem. Why would you fight the one constant in your life? Why would you not embrace that constant, knowing that whatever happens you are secure in change, always?
There is no end to a cycle, just constant change. Knowing this in your heart brings security.