Solstice is around the corner and as the darkness turns to light once more, I reflect on the life/death/Life cycle. This cycle seen in the seasons applies to everything, from relationships to interests, from careers to thoughts and states of being.
There is a tendency to hold on for dear life to the things that need to run their full course, from birth to death, to create room for whatever needs to grow in its place. Letting die what is familiar and feels safe is hard, often we stay in old patterns because, despite being harmful to our current selves, they provide a comfortable cloak of safety and familiarity.
Letting things run their course does not have to mean that entire things need to be let go of, for example, it may not mean that a relationship itself needs to be let die, it may mean that a part of it, or a way of being does. These things that we hold so tightly to most probably have served us in the past, however we drag them around in the present when all life and purpose has been drained, thinking that there must be something wrong with us.
Our current culture teaches us to hang on. Especially to life, to youth, optimism, and "progress". We are expected to stay moving upwards toward the ultimate superhuman goal, happiness, immortality, whatever it may be. The light and the dark have been split, the darkness devalued, the downward curve of the life/death/Life cycle detested and pushed aside. And yet expectation of continual upward progress is as unrealistic as demanding nature to stay eternally in Spring and Summer.
Can we allow ourselves to ride the assents and the descents of the cycles that are natural to being human? I invite you to hold both the light and the dark with equal value in following writing exercise inspired by the work of Dr. Estes.
1. Take a piece of paper and fold it so there are three columns vertically
2. At the top of the far left column write "life" (with a lower case L)
3. At the top of the middle column write "death"
4. At the top of the far right column write "Life" (With a capital L)
Reflect on your life, where has this life/death/Life cycle shown up? Fill in the columns as you go along.
The response can be as small as a mood change throughout your day and as big as a tragic event or life transition. Be sure to fill in the Life column with what was able to grow after that death.
Is there anything currently that perhaps served you at some point that is no longer serving you?
Where do you find yourself now in the life/death/Life cycle?
Be gentle with your self as you reflect.