Nature is full of transitions. The seasons unfold from summer to fall to winter to spring. The days transition from day to night with transitional moments of dusk and dawn. The tides shift and change with the moon and become high and low throughout the days of the month. And when we start watching nature we notice that it is really the master of transitions.
Our personal and professional lives also have multiple transitions. Yet, we often think of transition as one step. Example: I retired. I had my first child, I got my first job. Yet, nature reminds us that transitions evolve over time. We don’t go from dark to bright light, nor do we go from winter snows to flowers blooming in the spring. It takes time. The same is true for our personal and professional transitions. Nature can support us on the transitional journey.
Let’s examine the seasons as a guide for transitions to notice this flow of time. I’ll use references for the northern hemisphere but it is curious to think about seasons in the southern hemisphere too.
Consider these steps to gain insights on how to proceed with a personal or professional transition.
Step 1: Think about a transition you are in right now. Perhaps you are starting or ending a job or career. Maybe you are beginning a family or just started to take care of an aging parent. Or, you have adult children who have gone off to college and now are returning home. Just think about a transition you are in.
Step 2: Look at the transition from the lens of the four seasons. Which of the seasonal words below best describe your transition.
“Fall – Sensing a Shift in Your Life and Preparing for What’s to Come
Early Winter – Retreating, Reflecting and Reconnecting with Your Deeper Nature
Winter Solstice – Catching Sparks of Hope in the Darkness
Late Winter – Exploring and Experimenting to Firm Up Your Vision for the Future
Spring – Bursting into Bloom and Putting Your Plan into Action
Summer – Celebrating Your Harvest”
3. Examine the Seasons of Change Spiral below. Where would you describe yourself on this journey?
4. Visualize Your Transition Season: Look at photos, recall memories, what were you doing and thinking during that season. How energetic were you? What can you learn from how you felt or navigated that seasonal change.
For example, perhaps you are in the late winter season, planning for leaving your current job and moving on to something new but not sure what is next. We know that late winter can often swing wildly between feeling like spring and wearing a t-shirt and then temperatures dropping, storms appearing and even massive snow storms setting us back into a deeper winter and bundles of clothes, hats and mittens. What does your season feel like? How did you navigate the tshirt day? the deep winter day?
5. Reflect on Nature’s lesson- Think about how you can glean wisdom from the land to guide your transition. Recall that energy and joy that emerges during certain seasonal changes. Where are you feeling that energy in this season? Or remember that huge storm where the electricity failed and winter seemed to never end. How did you navigate that? Even in our darkest transitional moments where we feel like throwing up our hands, a seasonal metaphor can give us insight and direction. Even a sense of calm.
What season are you in? How can your reflections and experiences in the season outdoors be your guide during a professional or personal transition?