As the fall colors make their official appearance and crisp air starts to take over, I can’t help but think how much life mimics the unpredictability of seasonal transitions.
Think about each season of the year and what you like most about each one. Yeah, yeah, I know that you may LOVE fall and hate winter…but give it a try to really highlight something good about each one. Sure, you love winter, except when ice storms hit or you may prefer the summer as long as it stays below 100 degrees. Regardless of where you fall on the scales, try to focus on just a few examples of things you appreciate most for all four seasons.
Okay, now that you did that super easy exercise, take a minute and reflect back on the past year of events and experiences in your own life. What stands out the most? What do you appreciate about where you are now versus where you were 12 months ago? How have you grown? Or maybe, how have you stayed the same?
There may have been some stormier days, weeks, or even months, but think about the year as a whole. Did a particular bright day imprint on your heart?
The trick here is not to get too caught up in the stuff that you wish had been different. And please, for crying out loud, don’t use this exercise to beat yourself up on what you thought you SHOULD have done. Accept the reality of what the year held and look for the moments that you can build on for the upcoming year and take the experiences you have already had to guide you in the future.
The reality is that we all experience a myriad of seasons throughout life. And sometimes we may be going through one season and someone close to us may be in a whole other atmosphere. But no matter what, we are all constantly adapting and figuring out how to navigate the changes that come, even when they are not planned for. The best thing we can hope for is a little love and kindness as we figure out how to cope with whatever the days hold for us in the form of storms, sunshine, calm, or cloudy.
And if you are feeling like the world around you is a little short on the love and kindness supply, the no-fail solution is to start generating your own. Figure out something you can do and don’t get attached to the outcome. This means that if you are super nice to your neighbor and rake their leaves without them asking and then they yell at you instead of thanking you…don’t let it get you down. That’s detaching from the outcome. The act itself is powerful regardless if the intended recipient is grateful or just a plain grump.
Once you start practicing this type of kindness….it starts feeling good no matter what and the power is doing it, not the response (or outcome from it). A good example is when you do something completely anonymous for someone, like when people buy food/drinks in the drive through for the person behind them. Sure, you can imagine their amazing look of surprise and that heartfelt moment of “holy cow, someone just bought me coffee” but you don’t have to be worried about their response because you know that you did it purely to be kind, not to be recognized or praised. And let’s face it; that just feels good.
Enjoy the changing season and all the wonder that comes along with it and remember that no matter what time of year it is, love and kindness can always bloom.