Life is filled with countless cycles. Some are naturally-occurring — the sun rises and sets every day; the moon waxes to completion then wanes back to nothing; mother nature loops through her four seasons. Others, we have created — kids are sent to school each semester without fail; the same holidays and astrological signs are celebrated annually; each animal of the Chinese zodiac gets to shine every 12 years.
These perpetual cycles give us a sense of comfort among the chaos of life by offering structure. On my personal quest to find structure, and to better understand my emotions and experiences, I noticed another pattern. The seasons of my life (a borrowed term from Mari Andrew) seem to go through a cycle of changing, breaking, healing and growing.
The closest thing I can equate these life seasons to is the cycle of fall, winter, spring, and summer. To me, winter is the breaking. I am not a fan of winter. It’s cold and miserable, you constantly feel like you’re on the verge of getting sick, and you don’t want to do anything or go anywhere. I normally spend the entire season wishing for spring.
However, after a recent google search (“how to not hate winter”), I’ve slowly started to change my mind about the season. Maybe winter is necessary. Maybe we can even enjoy it (okay, that might be a bit of a stretch). Winter allows us to lower our energy expenditure, to rest and recharge. Winter gives us the comfort of sitting inside and drinking hot beverages. Winter permits us to draw inwards and reflect.
Life cannot be an eternal summer. Just like without darkness there cannot be light, and without sadness there cannot be joy, without winter, we would not have the warmth of that first spring day, and the sight of flowers in bloom once more. Without the breaking, there cannot be healing, and without the healing, there cannot be growth. Life isn’t about trying not to break. It’s about not giving up when you are breaking.
This doesn’t mean we have to break alone. Create your communities, know your resources, and make sure you have people in your life that support you. People that will gladly volunteer to help you rediscover the parts of yourself you may have lost in the breaking. The cyclicity of life means that you will probably break again. But, you will also heal again.