This is the season of the last harvest. Long ago, our ancestors would be cutting through the last of their crops and preparing large celebratory feasts with what they had all harvested. In the spirit of gratitude they would be appreciating the fruits of everyone's hard labor. There might have been a feeling of relief that the hardest part of their work was over and they could finally reap what they had sown. However, their work was never truly finished, there would also be talking and much planning for the darker colder months ahead. I am constantly in awe of the cycles in nature and how those cycles mirror themselves still in our own modern lives. It may not be crops you are tending to, perhaps it's a dream, goal, or something of a different nature. Still, some things never change. The lessons our ancestors had to learn in order to survive are the same in today's world. You can't expect your life to flourish without your hands getting dirty, so here are the stages of our life's cycles illustrated in a garden analogy. As you read through the different stages of growth, abundance, death, and rebirth, see if you can try to find out where you are in your own life cycle. This might give you clues as to why you may be stuck, and what your next steps might be.
The First Stage: Clearing
In order to have a flourishing garden, you must make the time and effort to clear the land and till the soil. This can be the most difficult part of your journey because it means that you have to be willing to let go of what has died, what no longer works, and what might get in the way of new growth. This includes letting go of things like unhealthy relationships, negative thinking and pessimism, constricting obligations and bad habits. This first step is the most crucial to a healthy cycle. You must let things die if you want things to be reborn.
The Second Stage: Seeds
Once you have cleared away anything that will not promote your absolute success, it is time to plant seeds. Dream big! Begin to put your desired outcomes down onto paper or a vision board. Do research, and talk to the right people about what you want to see bloom in your life. It is a time to imagine, create, and think positive affirming thoughts. The beginning phase is always exciting, new, and fresh. You have a support system, you have your tools, you have what it takes! Plant it!
The Third Stage: Tending
This is the part of the cycle where you can start to narrow down a step by step process and track your progress. It involves checks and balances. You may need to prioritize and make adjustments and changes as you figure out what strategies work. You learn the power of consistency, dedication, and flexibility. It feels good to feed and nourish the things in your life that are truly important to you.
The Fourth Stage: Patience
Every life cycle goes through a stage where you are working really hard and it seems like there are no results. This is the most common place the gardener (you) will either quit or go digging, (this is the equivalent to a gardener digging up his seeds to make sure they are growing, only to prematurely pull them from the ground, killing his crops.) Stage four is not pretty, and honestly most people don't make it past this point. There is a restlessness that overcomes most people when they don't receive instant gratification for their work. We can start feeling resentful and jealous of those who’s gardens are in later stages. Impatience causes frustration and self doubt. We may start pointing fingers and blaming those around us for our perceived failure. I have come to learn that patience is the hardest of all virtues, especially when it comes to our dreams. We start out with such high expectations and we want nature to bend to our will “right now!” However just like a garden, there is a time to all growth. You cannot expect to be harvesting in stage four. No, in order to pass this point, you must master patience and continue doing the work and tending to your dreams. Stage four is where faith is built, it's where heroes are made.
The Fifth Stage: Breaking Ground
Nothing in this world compares to finally seeing results from all of your hard work and patience. You know you’ve broken ground when you can finally start to relax. Things may not be in full bloom yet, however there is a feeling of relief that replaces the anxiety when you can finally see how the garden is going to look. You are confidant, your systems are all working in sync. Your consistency has paid off, and you can breathe a sigh of relief. You have security in what you see coming.
The Sixth Stage: Tending
Yes, it’s back to tending and being patient again. However, your mentality will have matured now that you've mastered what it takes to reap results. As your dreams and goals start to blossom, your strategies may need reevaluations. Your perspectives will change due to your growing experience and wisdom. You may have new and different people in your life that you relate to who also made it past stage four. You know what works and what doesn’t work, and you may have developed a different way of tending than when you did at stage three.
The Seventh Stage: The Harvest/The Sharing
You are now receiving the full benefit of all your hard work! Abundance is yours! There is much to celebrate as you fully reap what you have sown and in the spirit of gratitude and prosperity, you begin to share and take care of those around you. You become a way shower for those stuck in previous stages. You are in a place to speak from experience, wisdom, and a deep understanding of what it takes to enjoy the fruits of your labor!
The Eighth Stage: Reviewing & Planning
If you think you have arrived at the promised land at stage seven, you are very wrong. Your garden, aka goals, dreams, projects, and desires, can die at anytime so it's imperative that you to plan your next course of action. You must review what you have learned and who/what you can count on to be a continuing part of your blossoming garden. Most of all, you will recognize that as your garden blooms, so do you. All of your results are a direct reflection of how you do life internally. If you get stuck at any previous stage, it will be an opportunity to look within and recognize limitations that need healing. We all want to believe that our lives are compartmentalized - that one part of our lives wouldn’t affect the others. However, just like in a garden, if you allow weeds to grow in one part, they can easily take over other areas. How this relates to your life is the saying, "how you do one thing, is how you do everything." If you neglect your health and get sick, this will affect your ability to work. If you are unhappy in your relationship, this will drain your energy and life will become heavy, making it harder to accomplish anything. By the time you are at this stage, you are VERY aware of this fact. Perhaps with this wisdom, you will begin to understand why the gardener needs just as much attention as the garden. Each cycle you complete takes you deeper and deeper into your own blossoming.
Think of it this way: The gardener must do what few people are willing to do in order to have the garden that few people can even dream of. In other words, if you want the life you dream of in stage one, you must be willing to become someone who will make it to stage nine. (Develop habits, work ethic, and the necessary mentality.)
The Ninth Stage: Clearing
In ancient numerology the number nine represents the end because every number after nine is a combination of the first nine. And so, since this is a cycle, we must end where we once began and where we will begin again. Just like the seasons, while the cycle never ends, your dynamics will. You will clear different things at each passing of this point in the cycle. As you become a seasoned gardener, your garden will excel at flourishing and from this point, new seeds will sprout in your mind and heart. Our ancestors would most likely be burning down their crops at this stage in an effort to get rid of anything that would stand in the way of next seasons new seeds. New ideas and a fresh outlook on life will cause your cycle to come full circle and then you will be ready to begin again!
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; A time of war, and a time of peace.