- Amanda Cressman, N.D.
We live in an interesting world where we are inundated. Inundated with images, busyness and lots of opinions on what we should be doing, eating, looking like, feeling like and thinking like. I don't know about you, but I find it overwhelming at times. I historically loved listening to podcasts and generally am inspired by entrepreneurial individuals who have worked hard to be who they are against what society has told them is possible or "normal." But lately these podcasts and interviews have been demotivating as there seems to be this trend of pressure. Pressure to be exceptional, pressure to be unique, pressure to have it all together and pressure to be special. Although I believe in many of these messages and appreciate the inspiration, I also think they are not balanced and can cause undue stress to individuals if we perceive ourselves to not be hitting the mark.
I love looking at health and life in the framework of seasons. It seems to be a common analogy that many individuals are using these days- to honour the variety and contrasting experiences we have in life to the four seasons. Spring season refers to the beginning of something where excitement and opportunity exist. Summer is a flourishing time where manifestation and abundance are thriving. Autumn is where change is approaching and what was once flourishing is now diminishing. And Winter where there is no growth but stagnation, creating a time for reflection and renewal.
What I have learned...in a rather difficult way is that we are all in different seasons at different times. Although this seems obvious, it's hard when you are in a winter season of your life and someone else is in their spring. The comparisons can be difficult and social media takes this to a whole new level where everyone appears to be in the most exciting, most abundant time of their lives...their summer season.
So many of our self help books/podcasts/blogs are about getting you and keeping you in your summer season...which is impossible, unrealistic and goes back to creating more pressure. Pressure to be on, to be abundant and joyful at all times. This is unbalanced and a request that isn't made by Mother Nature but from and to ourselves.
Balance for me, is the key to health and wellness. Whether that's balance in your physical body, your mental mind or your emotional heart...balance keeps the whole system in check and this balance needs each season to happen for totality of health. We've somehow lost that here in our culture...specifically the work culture of Kitchener Waterloo, where in many industries performance and achievement are valued over other virtues. I see many people in their winter season - pushing themselves beyond what is healthy to keep on top, to help stay relevant or valued. When people feel they are in a fall or winter season, it's often met with feelings of inferiority, that something needs fixing or changing when in actuality it may be a time for more rest, for recuperation and for reflection. But there are times when things are off balance too...even drastically so, where support and intervention are necessary. What's important is that if you do find yourself in a fall/winter season of life, that you can give the time and space needed to honour that...finding your way back to balance.
For someone who has recently been in her "winter season" for awhile, due to life circumstances of grief, loss and change...it can feel like failure at times when I'm not doing as much as I historically could do but I need to stop and remind myself that this is only a season, that it will pass as all seasons do and I will come back to a spring season once again....if I take the time to reflect, to support my body and mind, to help set the stage to heal and for renewal.
Balance, I feel is becoming a lost state but one that is the foundation for wellbeing. If the analogy of seasons is a match for you, check in to where you are presently...to where you have been and see if there are things you can do to nurture that specific season. Through doing so, you will create the balance your being is needing to create health and wellness. Just like with Mother Nature, you can't be in summer season all the time, if so, things would fall apart and you'd miss out on all the pleasures that the other seasons provide.