Archives for Sep,2017

You are browsing the site archives by date.

Winter: A Season for Resting

In today’s busyness, we rarely make proper time for rest.  Even during weekends, there is shopping to be done, social engagements to attend, and it seems that the to-do list just never ends.  We have inevitably become human-doings instead of human-beings.  We do, do do, instead of just being.  And that is exactly why I think we are sometimes forced into seasons of rest, as we will rarely choose this season for ourselves.  There is a purpose to winter, and of all the seasons, it is probably the most important one that sets you up to be successful in the others.

When I talk about a winter season, what exactly do I mean?  It is a season in your life when your inner being grows cold, you don’t experience growth in any area of your life, you might wonder about your purpose and the road you are on, you might feel alone and lose your faith, and it feels like nothing good is happening.

Here are a few key thoughts that I have held on to during winter seasons in my own life, which I believe will help you too, especially when things get really hard.

A Time for Rest

Just like nature rests in winter, so we also need to rest during our winter season.  No growth happens in winter because the cold temperatures slow down metabolism in plants.  This allows plants to go into a dormant state and it is a survival mechanism to help them gear up for spring and summer.  Instead of resisting a winter season – lean into it.  Embrace the time of rest, gather your strength, engage in activities that will revitalise you, eat healthy and start cultivating healthy habits.  

A Time for Cultivating Discipline

When there are fewer demands on you, it gives you proper time to start cultivating some discipline in your life.  Cultivating discipline is sometimes challenging, but if you can become disciplined in every area of your life, you will be better equipped to handle bigger responsibilities in the future.  Cultivating discipline also shapes and develops your character, which is essential for withstanding storms that will come during seasons of growth and harvest.   You need to get yourself into a new state of thinking and doing things, as part of the preparation for the next season.

A Time to Shake off the Excess

When you cultivate discipline, you also start identifying habits, thinking processes, things, people, situations, etc., in your life that you can (and sometimes should) do without.  Plants keep the most basic processing running and also change the way these processes run in order to save energy to aid in surviving the winter.  You also need to change the way you do things in order to survive a winter season.  It is a great time to look at the excess in your life, and clean out.  Similarly to when you clean out old cupboards, or throw out clothing you don’t wear anymore, or chuck away old kitchen appliances or clean out the garage; you need to shake off the excess in your life that will hinder you from moving into the new season.  Shovel snow and ice from the driveway of your mind and learn how to actually drive well on the icy roads of life.

A Time for Re-evaluation

During your time of rest, your mind gets time to just be quiet.  This is a great opportunity for you to re-evaluate where you are, where you’ve come from, and where you are going.  Specifically look for positive things in your life, because this fuels hope in your heart that is necessary to carry you through winter.  During a time of re-evaluation, you need to check in with your core values, work on your mindset, count your blessings, nourish your soul, and be patient for the season to come to a close.  

A Time for Planning and Preparation

The most important part of winter, besides resting, is planning for what comes next.  Winter doesn’t last forever, and if you use the time during this season well, you will pick the fruits in your harvesting season.  In your quiet moments, when you are re-evaluating where you are going, start planning for spring (which is the season for planting).  During winter, your character will be shaped which will make you a stronger person, ready for the work that comes with planting.  But you can’t just start planting, proper planning and preparation is required, and if you do this well during your winter season, when the season changes, you will be ready for it.  

A Time not to Compare Yourself with Others

In winter seasons it is so difficult to not compare yourself to others who might be in a harvesting season.  Remember, we are all going through our own seasons, and someone who is harvesting is probably gathering and preparing for a winter season.  So don’t compare yourself to anyone else during a winter season.  Rather focus on what is necessary for you to get through the season stronger and ready for what is to come.  Remember – comparison is the thief of joy.  So, don’t go there.

 

Winter might not always be a fun season, but there is definite purpose in going through it.  Lean in, don’t resist it, and gather your strength for when the season changes.  Take the time to prepare for the new season, seek balance, eat healthy and take care of yourself.  Don’t loose hope, there is always a silver lining to every dark cloud.  Keep the faith, rest, and prepare for the new season, because it will surely come.

 

Remember: be the BEST version of yourself.

This post is the second in a series I am currently writing, titled “Seasons”. Keep an eye out for my next post – “Spring: A Season for Planting”. 

 

Read More

Just Be in the Season

 

Don’t you just love the start of a new season, especially spring.  The trees are sprouting new leaves, sweet fragrances start filling the air, and birds start returning after their migration to warmer countries during the South African winter.  I actually love the change of any season into a new one.

I love the anticipation of ‘newness’ that a new season represents.  And every season brings something new with it;  spring, summer, autumn and winter.  Nature changes with the seasons, and so do our lives.

Most of the time we are not very satisfied with the season that we find ourselves in.  Even during the natural seasons of life, we always want something else –  when winter is too cold, we wish summer would come;  when we are too hot in summer, we want the winter to return.  It seems that we generally struggle with just embracing our current season, and just being.

Of course some seasons are great to be in however, others are less enjoyable.  When you are in an abundant season;  your business is prospering, your career is sky-rocketing,  your kids are happy, friendships are flourishing, your marriage is bringing you joy, and life seems to just flow, easy, like a river without any obstacles.  When you are in a season of trials;  life gets a little tougher, it feels like you need to work extra hard just to get every day life to not fall apart, and things in general just feel like one big test, that you seem to be failing, most of the time.  Other seasons bring rest, and other complete change.

But no matter the season, you have a choice to be in it and to be present.  It is wise to buckle down and learn the lessons of your current season, as every season prepares you for the next one.  And if you haven’t grown and changed with your current season, you will not be ready for what the next season holds.

Being present in the season doesn’t always come naturally to us and I would like to share some ideas I think will help you be present in your current season, until it is time for your next season to begin:

Fill Your Own Cup

This might sound selfish, but truth of the matter is that you cannot pour from an empty cup.  If your cup is empty, you are not able to give 100% in the areas that require your attention and energy;  whether it’s your marriage, kids, work, career, friends, or any other area of your life that demands your time.  YOU need to take care of YOU!  You need to figure out what the best way is to fill your cup.  It might be taking time out to read a book, go shopping, enjoying a spa treatment, playing golf, go running, dancing, spending quality time with your significant other, quiet time with God, or whatever activity it is that you engage in that fills your cup.  When you engage in these filling-your-cup-activities,  it will give you the energy to look life straight in the eyes and say ‘Bring. It. On!’.

 Schedule Time to have Fun

Yes, you read that right – schedule time to have fun.  Life demands so much of us and if we do not schedule time for certain activities, life will happily continue to dictate what we spend our time on.  So sit down with a calendar and your diary, and book time out for fun activities, weekends away, bucket-list items, picnics in the park – whatever you consider as fun.  When we engage in activities that make us happy, our brains release four feel-good chemicals – endorphins, oxytocin, serotin and dopamine.  Each chemical does something different in your brain and body, and you can read more here.   But remember, life is as much fun as you make it.

 Practice Appreciation

When you are in a difficult season it is so easy to get lost in everything that is wrong.  We can easily get wrapped up in self-pity or negative thinking by focusing on everything that is wrong with life in that moment.  Instead of looking at your current season through a negative lens, change the lens to one of appreciation.  Be mindful of what is going right, even if it is something small like getting a parking spot right in front of the shop you need to go to.  There is always something to be thankful for.  Appreciate your life.  Appreciate the people in your life.  The more you focus on the things you can be grateful for, the more you will train your thoughts to focus on the positive side of things, irrespective of the season.

 Share your heart with a Friend

Life is best when shared, and in every season of our lives we need some friends.  Have at least one friend who you can confide in;  someone who you can trust with your heart, but mostly, someone who can hold you accountable.  They’ll let you moan for a while, but then remind you to get up, dust yourself off, and keep on fighting the good fight.

A true friend sticks it out with you, no matter the season.  They can be a sounding board, someone who can listen to your fears and worries and tell you it will all be okay, that YOU will be okay.  Your friend will encourage you through the tough spots, celebrate with you when you win, and importantly, they will witness your journey and remind you of how far you have come, and how far you can still go.

 So Be In The Season!

You get one life, and your life will always be going through seasons.  Just like we cannot control the seasons of nature, we cannot control the seasons in our lives.  But you can decide to be thankful for what you have, spend some time on activities that energise you and choose the people you share your season with.  The best thing you can do for yourself is to embrace it, grow with it, and just be in it.  Because whatever is happening in your life right now is making you stronger, helping you grow, and teaching you valuable lessons for the next season that will inevitably come to pass when it is time.

Remember: be the BEST version of yourself.

This post is the first in a series I am currently writing, titled “Seasons”. Keep an eye out for my next post – “Winter: A Season for Resting”. 

Read More