To Everything There Is A Season

As wintertime deepens, one observes nature releasing what she will not require in the cold months ahead. Energy in plants moves inward, growth slows and finally stops. Leaves shed from deciduous trees and some evergreens’ needles turn to yellow. Frogs aestivate and other animals hibernate, mimicking something as close to death as to be mistaken by the uninformed as death, itself. And indeed, many life forms will and do die in the bitterest cold.

Ecclesiastes offers, To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven … including a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to cast away; a time to gather. Nature seems well informed and accepting of how and when to let go. It is a necessary step in the process of renewal. The Western world is far less accepting of this inevitable cycle of decline; in fact, physical death is something many fear, reject, and forestall at almost any cost.

Tibetan Buddhists suggest a practice of nonattachment, or the ability to release what is longer needed so that a person might differentiate between perceived and genuine needs. All of us require a roof over our heads, food to eat and clothes to wear. Yet knowing how and when to let go is difficult in a culture based on consumerism, a process whereby we are conditioned to endlessly gather and strive. Consumerism fuels the economy we have created, to the degree that many of us do not know when to stop gathering. Much of this amassing is focused on the material and monetary. Paradoxically, our currency is labeled with the epithet In God We Trust, suggesting surrender to the Divine and faith in its ability to provide for us, even as we are spending this money to assure self provision.

According to Webster, trust is synonymous with faith, the unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence. Yet even those of us who believe we practice faith are not always cultivating trust. We pray, ask, look for signs that our prayers have been answered and, failing this, we attempt to figure out and control the outcome of events and circumstances. I’m not saying this makes us good or bad as people. It’s simply the way we’ve been conditioned to operate in a stressful, competitive social climate.

We compete with others in the workplace; wrangle with Creation in providing what we perceive we need and need now. Even though we have been assured, time and again through scripture and sacred texts of all persuasions, that our prayers are absolutely answered and that Providence bestows all we seek, few of us have engendered the patience of Bear or the trust of Birch that food sources will be renewed and that leaves will bud again in the spring. Nature can be a great teacher and healer, if we observe her long enough. As the sun sets, it also rises.

Many of us are blessed to live close to nature. Our dwellings might even hug the forest or overlook expansive waters. We can easily learn to let go by observing nature’s cycles: the tides coming in, going out; the migration of waterfowl. Yet even in an urban environment, we can still sit and breathe while visualizing ourselves as part of the cycle of death as winter approaches, letting stressful thoughts and worries flow out on that same breath. Dying to stress is dying back into life. Embracing change rather than fighting against it facilitates the realization that we might not finish everything, but what we do complete will be enough. We, like Chipmunk and Frog, will survive. Like Pine, part of us will continue greening, while like Maple, part will flutter away. It is all in Creation’s plan. And we humans play an integral part.

10 thoughts on “To Everything There Is A Season

  1. Thanks, Ronnie. I like it as well. This nonattachment or lack of striving comes through for me in years of contemplating and living close to the bones of nature. Nothing in the natural world seems in a hurry – even the crashing streams that sweep through gulches and valleys have a sort of restrained rhythm in their movements – a feeling of purpose or destiny in the charting of their course.

    I love the Tibetans’ take on Buddhist teachings. The Dalai Lama is one of the biggest game changers on the planet today – his wisdom is that profound.


  2. Hi Bela,

    The seasons and the changes they usher in are but further proof of the transience of our permanence. The cyclical nature of our universe, the ebbs and flows of all that it holds, seems to be the only constant. What is it therefore that makes us cling to aspects in our lives, unwilling to change? Why do we find it so difficult to “let go” of aspects which no longer serve? Is it our inner insecurities or the societal conditioning to selfishly chase all that is not ours?

    As I muse, I realise that in an everchanging world, I continue to hold onto my beliefs and perceptions. These therefore remain the changeless aspect of me.I am still searching for ways of letting go of these aspects which make up the quintessential me.

    Thank you Bela for a beautiful post which has led to such musings.




  3. Shakti, I couldn’t agree more. Our bodies anyway are subject to the same cycles as are the rest of nature’s creations, are they not?
    What is it, then, that makes us cling to the familiar? I can only presume it’s the same fear we were inculcated with to prevent real danger (dinosaurs, e.g.), passed down through the ages to keep us viable as a species – but somewhat useless, in my opinion, when we are attempting to grow and evolve as spirits in form. We do possess these minds which allow us to make arbitrary decisions to release unhealthy behaviors, but we are also creatures of habit. Many of us are also breaking new ground for all of our relations, past and present – which might be as scary as trekking across the Sahara desert alone (and sometimes feels this way, to me). This self protective mechanism kicks in, and we are afraid – clinging to our old ways like a security blanket.
    And then there’s simple laziness, some of it seemingly justified, especially in today’s stressful world. So many demands, time whizzing by – do I really want to bother with this human potential nonsense when I’m trying to get the bills paid this month?
    And so, on we go – making what choices we can with the awareness that we possess in the moment. Forward one step, back two. Forward two, back one. I can only say kudos to any of us who actually accomplishes change in the face of all of this, through pain and suffering (similar to getting lost while tromping through the woods in below-zero weather) and into the light of understanding (like finally emerging into a clearing near home, food, and fire).
    Thanks as always for posting such thoughtful musings, Shakti!


  4. There are many parts in this post which are so true. Like the one you mentioned, trust is synonymous with faith; then “Nature can be a great teacher and healer, if we observe her long enough”- I completely agree with you on this. And there are many parts in this post, which are equally beautiful and thought provoking. But I am not going to take too much of space in your comment section and I will just say that, one more great post from you, Bela. 🙂


    1. Arindam, you could never ‘take up too much space’ in your commenting on my blog. I appreciate our connection, and always smile when I see you’ve dropped by to leave a bit of feedback. Thanks so much!


    1. Ivon, I commented on your site as well – thank you so very much for honoring me in this way. I very much appreciate it, and also wish to congratulate you on receiving the award, yourself. Really enjoy reading your blogposts!


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