Struggling to bloom? Take a tip from nature.
Updated: Nov 9, 2018
Nothing in nature blooms all year: so why do humans try to? It's time to banish the word 'lazy' from your life and begin to embrace the vital benefits of rest and relaxation.
This is a conifer, an evergreen. It's perfectly nice, and makes a good hedge. It looks this way all year: day in , day out. You can rely on a good old conifer to be exactly as you'd expect it to be - green and leafy. Leafy and green.
Yet it won't flower, it won't really change colour, and it won't make a surprise reach for the sky in a giant and glorious growth spurt. The conifer knows that to maintain it's non-stop performance it must be realistic about what it can achieve. It must pick one thing to do really well, and it's chosen to be leafy and green. And so it does that one thing: day in, day out. That's why it's called an 'evergreen', not an 'everbloom' or an 'evergrow'.
But you are not a conifer. You are not an evergreen.
You are, like most other species in nature, designed to follow an energy pattern of ebb and flow. You'll have bloom times of energy, inspiration and action - supported by seemingly dormant times of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. In nature, both are equally important to sustain life. And for us, both are equally vital for long-term wellbeing, fulfilment and growth.
Are you ready to bloom?
Recent generations have started to believe that we too must be evergreen. To perform: day in and day out. But unlike our friend the conifer, we're not just content to do ONE thing really well every day. We pressure ourselves to be in full bloom: day in, day out.
After all, a productive human should tick boxes every day, right? We should jump out of bed, clean the house, feed the family, put in a top-notch day at work, apply for a promotion, hit the gym, pay the bills, have the neighbours over for a nutritious and delicious dinner, then post about it all on social media. Oh, and we must remember to look radiant and feel cheery whilst doing this!
And if we lack the energy or motivation to tick all of those boxes, day in and day out, then something must be wrong with us.
But you only have to look at nature to know we've got it all wrong.
If you want to blossom, you need to embrace your down time.
I love this saying and beautiful design.
And it's a good reminder that we could all take a lesson from the cherry blossom tree.
It forms its first buds in late winter or early spring, and produces heavenly blossoms for a few days to a couple of weeks - depending on conditions.
Then, the tree takes the pressure off itself and lets the blossom fall. It produces some simple green leaves throughout summer. In autumn, it might produce some fruit to feed birds and insects, before its leaves change colour and fall to the ground. Then it lies dormant, resting and re-energising ahead of spring.
And no one calls it lazy or unproductive for doing this.
How to give yourself the benefit of all four seasons
Living more like cherry blossom and less like a conifer doesn't mean we should only be active in the spring and summer months, and close the shutters in autumn and winter.
But using a seasonal mentality is a good way to check in with ourselves each day and see where our energy is at.
If you feel drained, empty and down - take some winter time. Totally stop and rest, and do only gentle things that bring you nourishment for mind, body and spirit. Even an hour of true rest (that means no loading the washing machine or checking Instagram) can help you to feel re-energised.
If you feel inspired and motivated - take some spring time. Give yourself 30 minutes of headspace to turn those ideas into plans. Find channels for your creativity, declutter your space or get outside for some fresh air and to get your limbs moving. This is a time to put out some feelers and try new things before committing to action.
If you feel full of life - take some summer time. Embrace your joy and follow your flow. This is your time of maximum energy, so give yourself the freedom and headspace to maximise on it. Turn plans into reality, connect with others, and bloom, bloom, BLOOM!
If you feel like reflecting and taking stock - give yourself some autumn time. Strip back to the basics and let go of anything that no longer serves you. Take time out to enjoy and share what you've already achieved. Embrace what you've learned through experience and prepare for your next phases of rest and growth.
So next time you're facing a big list of 'shoulds', just check in with your mind, body and soul and see what season your energy is in. Working with your energy, instead of against it, is the way to honour your true nature.