As the seasons come and go we may think nothing of their effect on our emotional well-being. It may seem obvious that as winter draws closer people may experience lower energy and moods, and some suffer from S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
But what happens between the seasons? That moment when winter is not quite over and spring has not set fully into bloom? Or that in-between time when the sun is no longer as warm and the leaves have just started to turn?
I wonder, is this similar to the in-between time written about in magical stories between dusk and dawn, at midnight, where the energy is greater and more intense, where it can cause a disturbance?
“the ‘tween times’—times that are not distinct or definable—they are in-between. Dawn is neither day nor night, and neither is dusk. Noon is neither morning nor afternoon, and midnight is neither one day nor the next. Equinoxes and solstices—especially autumn and spring are also “tween time””— Enchantment of the Faerie Realm
My favourite season is spring, perhaps because this was the time I was born or simply because I love nature springing into life, but I have noticed a more recent trend in how I feel around the time of seasons shifting into Autumn. And who knows, I may always have felt this way, but did not question it before and had no awareness of it.
In the time between the end of summer and the start of autumn my energy would flag and sometimes what can only be described as a depressed feeling would arise. I did not want to stick with this label as I wanted to go beyond this feeling to be mindful of what was taking place, so I watched a Jeff Foster video on how depression could be a spiritual invitation and how it could be viewed as ‘DEEP-REST’ instead of de-pressed, and for me a feeling of going within, and perhaps readying myself for a change in some way.
I wondered, did anyone else experience this at this time and I received feedback that many people do and so I did some research. After reading an article by Oliver Burkeman here I realised that my own feelings could also be triggered by what always happened every year for many years for me, the new school term begun as a child.
So do certain seasonal changes reflect times that we had when growing up that we either loved or hated? Perhaps our cells carry this repetitive experience and we feel those same feelings as the seasons shift.
September in the UK was the end of the summer and the start of the new school term. I had memories of wonderful summers with family, on holidays, freedom, playing with friends and then autumn came and I dreaded going back to school. School was a torturous experience for me, filled with anxiety, feeling like an outsider and generally not belonging at all. So it stands to reason that the changing seasons at this time would bring up uncomfortable feelings.
For some, they may have fond memories of this time and may have loved school, a time to meet up with all the friends they didn’t see during the summer, a time for fun and learning, but for many, I imagine the motion into the darker part of the year becomes a more introspective time that may bring up emotional instability.
What Can You Do When Seasons Affect You In A Challenging Way?
Know it will pass. Embrace the ‘DEEP-REST’ or agitation you may feel. Don’t fight the feeling. Open your heart with gentleness to the experience you are having. Perhaps you have not had the greatest summer, and autumn coming is a reminder and fills you with regret? Embrace this with tenderness.
The dark heavy emotions cannot be pushed aside or forced away. They need your loving attention.
Think of it this way, something has been dormant or hidden for some time, and as the seasons change you can keep it hidden and heavy by distracting yourself, only for it to return again and again, or you can shine a light onto the darkness through your simple awareness and attention. This may not change the feeling, but it does bring a greater stillness and acceptance, always bringing relief no matter how subtle the relief is. Acceptance and allowing shifts the attention from war with oneself to peace instead.
It may also help to take some time out in nature and to tune in to nature’s cycle.
It’s not a good idea if you suffer from seasonal depression to make a list of of things you are grateful for, in my experience, unless you feel drawn to do so. If you try and do this you are resisting ‘what is’ and missing the gifts that this ‘DEEP-REST’ could contain for you if you allowed yourself to drop into your natural flow and soothe yourself through self-acceptance and self-kindness.
For me this period in 2014 brings up grief again, and also a feeling of forgiveness. A need to forgive the ‘story’. And to know this too shall pass and it’s all okay.
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