Mother Nature is not here for you; she is you and you are her.
“We are physical matter, just like the earth. But we are not in tune with the earth. We are more attuned to the speed of the Internet than to the steadiness of the trees.” — Christine Arylo.
What I see in the news most often pits humans against nature. “Oh no, there’s another hurricane!” and “The fires are destroying everything.” And of course, this year, there is also “the virus.”
Have you stopped to consider that nature is not trying to punish you, but rather that these events are meant to help wake you up to situations you have been ignoring, unconscious of, or otherwise complacent about? While I don't deny human hardship, grief, and loss, I also look at natural happenings as a great gift. Big events wake us up.
When big things are going on externally, you can bet that big things are going on internally.
Whether you are religious, spiritual, atheist, or none of the above, you have an internal world. And drawing the attention inward is the work of a lifetime.
What we see with our eyes as our external reality is the manifestation of unseen energies that exist within our being. Within our inner community, we have many diverse sub-personalities — each with agendas, desires, hopes, and dreams.
Often, our inner communities are in turmoil, and we fight with ourselves internally. This is easy to spot any time you have a decision to make and you become conflicted. The ego-mind jumps in and tells you what you should do, your various child personalities tell you whether you are good enough, and your heart tells you what is most nourishing for your soul.
In this scenario, most humans give way to the ego-mind, adhering to a whole litany of “should programs” running in the subconscious mind. These shoulds are inherited from our parents, pastors, friends, teachers, and even ancestors.
Following these shoulds keeps us out of our authenticity and complacent with what is going on around us.
I recently watched an episode of the Rich Roll Podcast featuring an interview with Erin Brockovich. Brockovich spoke about the complacency that took place in communities that knew that their water supply was toxic.
When a big company and a scientist tell you that everything is fine, but your gut tells you this is a lie, what do you do?
Erin said that in prior decades, community members had tried to change the system, but failed. Their failure was because of false beliefs such as they couldn’t understand science or were not knowledgeable enough to speak with a doctor.
However, Erin gives us hope by saying that based on her direct experience, the times of insecurity and failure have ended.
Now many people (mothers in particular) are rising up and challenging institutions and effecting real change in their communities.
They are waking up. They are rebuking their “should programs” in favor of what they know is true and what needs to be done. This is what pain does.
Pain wakes us up to our complacency and motivates us to act.
Part of waking up means shifting our perception of nature.
How humans (westerners in particular) view the natural world has become distorted. The world is not here for our use; we are beings made from the same material as the birds, the horses, and all the other seen and unseen beings with whom we share our Earth home.
We have forgotten how to live in harmony with nature, and in doing so, continue to unconsciously damage our environment and ourselves.
So how do we shift our perspective and work productively with nature’s cycles? Think about what you know about the seasons. Do you have any ideas about what each season represents? Let’s review each season in detail, along with practices you can use to reconnect with the cycles of nature.
Photo from UnsplashTed Andrews, a beloved teacher in the metaphysical community, wrote many books to help us reconnect with nature. About the seasons, he says:
“Autumn releases the forces of purification and preparation, and winter releases the forces of love — the feminine. Spring releases the force of will — the masculine power, but summer releases the Power of Light!”
Autumn is a time of harvest and preparation. In autumn, we collect the ripe fruits from the seeds we planted in spring. Autumn is also a time when the outward energy of summer draws inward.
The leaves on the trees turn colors as there is less sunlight each day to support photosynthesis, and the energy of the trees draws inwards toward the trunk.
This is in preparation for winter, which is a time of inner exploration.
The time of the autumn equinox is a powerful time for balancing our internal energies. On the day of the equinox, the amount of light and dark is equal.
This signals an opportunity to balance our internal energies.
Rather than thinking “dark” is wrong or scary, we can reframe our understanding to think of the dark as the unseen, or the field of potentiality.
The dark is a place of mysterious creation, the womb of the feminine.
So we can view the light as what is manifest, what is seen; and we can view the dark as what is potential, what is unseen.
This reframing creates psychological peace and helps us move out of duality consciousness into a more integrated and holistic view of our totality.
One way to work with the equinox is to look at the balance of masculine and feminine within ourselves and in our lives. Are you able to receive a compliment? (Feminine.) Are you able to speak up without doubting yourself? (Masculine.) Just like the in-breath, and the out-breath, we can think about the balance between what we take in and what we put out.
We can evaluate balance both within ourselves and in our outer environment. (As previously mentioned, our internal energies create our external reality.) If you have a significant other, what is the balance of give and take? Are you always giving and getting little in return? Or are you always demanding attention and taking the other person for granted?
Hopefully, neither of these is correct, but considering the dynamic is part of waking up. Often we go through days and months without consciously considering the balance in our relationships. Life gets busy.
But if we start to work with the seasons, we can remember that the coming of autumn and the autumn equinox means that we need to take some time to consciously consider our lives: what we are harvesting, what we are preparing for in the winter, and what we have learned over the past months.
Practice for Working with the Autumn Season
Sometime around the equinox, take time for quiet meditation. Breathe in and out for a few minutes. Bring your attention inward and just listen, just feel.
The only objective is to connect with yourself. Pay attention to your breath. Sit quietly for five to ten minutes. Once you have spent some time with yourself, take out a journal. I recently read an article by Melanie Beckler about equinox practices (link) and I like the journal prompts she wrote for the autumn season, which includes:
What were the intentions you set this past spring? What did you do to cultivate them? How are those intentions manifesting now? What are you harvesting in your life now? Were these the wisest seeds you could have sown?
What challenges appeared for you in this last cycle? How did you navigate through them? What could you have done differently?
What can you change now to stay in greater love, peace, and balance?
In addition to considering what you can change, consider what you need to release. Just as the trees release their leaves, the autumn is a time for completion.
What emotions, situations, or people would be helpful to release from your life experience? This work can be difficult, but deeply healthy and transformative.
The autumn season is also a great time for cleansing the body. You may choose to undertake a seasonal juice cleanse, clean out the garage, donate items you no longer need or take an Epsom salt bath.
Any of these actions become more empowered when you add your conscious intention of releasing what is no longer needed or working in your life.
Send gratitude to yourself for taking the time to do this work and send gratitude to the autumn season for helping you to work consciously with the cycle of nature.
Once this is complete, you are prepared for the coming winter.
Winter is a quiet time in nature. I have heard it said that holiday parties around Christmas and New Year’s Eve are in direct conflict with the energies of the season.
The trees pull their energy in towards their trunks, as humans pull their energy in towards their middle to keep vital organs warm in cold weather.
Winter is meant to be a time of reflection. To think about the winter as a time of darkness is a misunderstanding — it is a time to focus on our inner light.
In Tom Andrew’s book Nature Speak, he says:
This is a time of year in which the Inner Light is kindled in spite of outer darkness, and thus it is a powerful time for revelation through dreams and meditation. This is actually a time for withdrawal from outer activities, so that we can give birth to the light within our own darkness. To bring new life from the womb is the goal of this season.
The time of the winter solstice is a powerful time for connecting with the energies of the season. Melanie Beckler suggests that this is a time for making plans:
The winter solstice is the perfect time for making plans, setting intentions, and really you can think of it as the cycle of life that’s right before the birth of a new project, event, or phase of life.
Practice for Working with the Winter Season
In the three to four days surrounding the winter solstice, take time each day for meditation. Focus on your heart center by placing your attention in the center of your chest as you meditate.
Mentally repeat the word love, with the intention of tuning into the vibration of love that is so prevalent at this time.
If you can spend time outside, do so. Andrews says:
“One of the powerful acts we can perform for ourselves is to spend some time in Nature on the day of the winter solstice.”
Once you are attuned to the love available around the winter solstice, use this journal prompt:
What does my heart want to create in the new year?
Try not to let your mind get in the way, keep your attention focused on your heart center as you reflect and write.
The objective is to answer this question from your deeper self, rather than your ego-mind or personality.
Based on what you hear and write, this is a great time to create a vision board for the coming year — a practice that has grown in popularity for good reason! Send gratitude to yourself for taking the time to do this work and send gratitude to winter for helping you to work consciously with the cycle of nature.
Once this is complete, you are prepared for spring.
Spring is a time when our inner reflections from the winter give way to outer expression. In Nature Speak, Andrews says that “While the winter season is the time of Feminine Mysteries (the water element), the spring season is the time for the Masculine Mysteries (the fire element).”
The energy of newness is intoxicating in spring. As we become more outwardly active, our sexual energies also awaken and become more active.
In nature, we see the mating season, and we must realize that humans attuned to nature may also feel more of a draw for sexual expression at this time of year.
We can observe animals such as the rabbit learn more about this season. From an esoteric perspective, the rabbit is an animal with powerful lessons for all seasons; however, I associate the rabbit most with spring as they are so active in procreation.
Rabbits are not only very fast, but they also can change direction very quickly. If we see that things are manifesting in an unhelpful direction for us, we can meditate on the rabbit and see how to quickly get back on track.
Contemplating the rabbit may also help us understand how to more quickly manifest our goals. Their gestation period is only 31–33 days and after 28 days young rabbits are ready to leave the nest.
Other animals can teach us about the energies of spring. For example, the peacock may teach us lessons about being attractive, but it is also featured in myths about resurrection and is closely associated with the mythical phoenix.
For more information about the animals of spring, you can refer to the book Animal Speak. Practice for Working with the Spring Season
The vernal equinox is a great time to work with the season of spring. As with the other seasons, take time in nature if you can.
Also, choose a day or several days around the time of the equinox to meditate. For your spring meditation, observe what is emerging in your life.
Ask your higher self what actions you can take to manifest a life you love and see what answers you receive. Journal prompts for spring include:
What actions have I taken to manifest my dreams from winter and the beginning of the year? (Note: the observation of the alignment between your winter visions and your spring actions may tell you a lot about the state of internal balance of your feminine and masculine energies.)
Are my actions in alignment with what I choose to create? If so, how can I empower them further? If not, what adjustments do I need to make?
How am I feeling sexually? Am I expressing myself authentically in that area of my life? If not, what steps can I take to have a healthy relationship with my sexuality?
According to Ted Andrews, one of the best ways to attune to any season is to read myths and tales that are associated with that time of year. For the spring season, you may choose to read any of these stories:
The bible story of the death and resurrection of Jesus
Other resurrection stories such as those of Isis, Adonis, or Attis
The Native American story of White Buffalo Calf Woman (link)
Chinese tales of Kwan Yin
You can choose to read these stories through a religious lens; however, it is also possible to explore them for the essence of what they are trying to communicate — regardless of your chosen beliefs.
Send gratitude to yourself for taking the time to do this work, and send gratitude to the spring season for helping you to work consciously with the cycle of nature.
Once this is complete, you are prepared for the fullness of summer.
Summer is a time associated with light, with exuberance, with joy.
It is the time when our energies are most fully expressed, and we revel in the luxury of abundant vigor. We often think of vacations, summer tans, and even summer romance.
When we are flooded with sunlight, our brains are more active. Scientists say that sunlight positively affects our pineal gland. They also suggest that a practice of standing in the light of the early morning sun is beneficial for brain health and helps regulate melatonin and our sleep cycles.
There may be more to taking summer beach vacations than just having a good time with friends. From an esoteric perspective, sunlight clears our energy bodies. The light “burns away” the dross — the thoughts and emotions that are no longer serving our evolution. Being outside in nature, the elements nourish us. The ocean wind cleans away old emotions, and the saltwater is a cleansing bath for our entire being.
Shores are called “in-between” places, not quite land, not quite an ocean. Our ancestors believed that these places were very beneficial for working with nature spirits and developing our conscious awareness of them.
Practice for Working with the Summer Season
The time of the summer solstice is powerful. It is the time when the sun is at the highest point in the sky. Taking a nature vacation for the week of the summer solstice is ideal. If that is not possible, on the day of the solstice, try to take some time outside and sit around a campfire. Fire was a central element in summer solstice rituals practiced by our ancestors because honoring the fire is a way of honoring the light.
If you practice yoga, dedicating your practice to the sun on the solstice is a way to honor the light. Many yoga studios offer lengthy sun salutation practices on this day each year. A simple practice of standing in the sun and offering gratitude for the light is also powerful.
You can also mentally greet the sun every morning when you wake up. While this is most impactful in summer, it a practice that is beneficial all year long.
Honoring the Seasons will Change Your Life
And it can put you more in touch with the cycles of nature. You eventually realize that you are not separate from nature, but that you are an expression of nature.
The practices described support you to become aware of your unconscious “should programs” and make choices to create a life that you love.
As we attune to nature and create from love, this world will transform and become a peaceful place — Heaven on Earth.
Mother Nature is not here for you; she is you and you are her.
And so it is.