Spring. The season of letting go.
So begins the natural year. Rebirth. New life. Last years’ leaves enrich this year soil. Last year’s blossoms have become this year’s seeds. Nourish them. Give them room. Allow them to take root. Tend to them wisely and they will grow.
Now is the time to get grounded. We can start with Spring Cleaning.
So it’s Spring. Here in the high country it comes in small doses. Rations. Little tantalizing tastes. And then another snow storm hits and your world is white and you wonder if that bright green grass was just a dream…
Now’s the time of fixing fences, dragging pasture, shoeing horses, getting the stock (and ourselves) in shape for the work of the upcoming season, clearing trail, and up here, always gathering fire wood.
All that fun stuff aside, this is the time of year I’m Cabin Cleaner Extraordinaire. Not really the most romantic part of my position in life, but the true meat-and-potatoes. The part that makes the rest of it not only possible, but worthwhile. The part that’s about giving, sharing, gratitude and humility. Without which, well, what’s the point? Self-indulgence only gets you so far. It gets old fast. At least, one can hope it will.
Anyway, we run a guest ranch. Six rental cabins. All sitting shut down, unused, gathering dust and cob webs and muddy prints and dirt from who-knows-where but there it is, for the past six months. Each one to be transformed into spic and span, and warm and welcoming with the touch of my magic broom.
See? Plenty of practice in the spring cleaning department.
So here I am, with a bucket and mop and wet rag, and I get to thinking…
What does cleaning have to do with enlightenment?
First, let’s considered this. What is enlightenment? For definition, look around at those you might consider enlightened. Are they in one place and remaining there stagnant? Or are they involved in a process? I think we often look at (are told) enlightenment is one single state rather than a way of being and an ongoing journey, an evolutionary existence. Like the seasons, a continuum of birth, growth, death, transformation, rebirth.
We look to authorities for the answers, when they are within us and around us all along. Learn to listen. Quietly. To the sound of rain on soft spring soil and the rustle of newly emerging leaves.
What do you believe? Not what you were told, given or born into, but deep inside yourself if you dare to take the time to look. Tell me about those truths.
I see enlightenment not as some final product and divine state, but as the simple process of conscious being… which begins with letting go, lightening up.
So, lighten up!
No, it doesn’t end there. It doesn’t end. But that’s where it starts. So let’s start.
Enlightenment need not be something exclusive and elusive. We give it high airs and think it’s out of reach, some unobtainable state reserved for the special few. The term is often misused or over used, as in, “I am,” “He is,” “She is,” and, “You, sorry, are not…”
That’s not true enlightenment. That’s ego. Let that one go too.
Enlightenment is within us all. It is without judgment. Without expectation, assumptions, demands. It is without heirs, pretentions and prejudice. And it is not like a light bulb that once we flick the switch, it’s on for good. It too needs tending. It ebbs and flows like waves and wind. We don’t get somewhere and remain there. It is not one place. It is a never ending process. It is life and beyond life.
It’s all of us, all the time. It’s do-able It’s a state we all are in, any time we change and grow and even try to understand. Any time we make room within us to open up and clearly see and be. It’s not always big stuff. Start small. Start with cleaning. Cleansing. Letting go. Opening up.
This is just the first step. The first season.
Cleaning, cleansing, clearing yourself of what you no longer need. Getting rid of old baggage.
Yes, it’s that simple. And that hard. Because we all know how hard it is sometimes to just let go. We’re quick to cling, to hold on tight, and define ourselves by things we’ve had or happened in the past. We’re slow to see how bound we are until we begin counting and releasing our attachments.
So, we start by letting go, lightening up. Get rid of that stuff. Shed.
The path to enlightenment is different for us all. I live in and with nature. So for me, it’s easier to see life as a natural process. Here’s how I see it work around me, and thus within me:
- Spring: Clean up. Let go. Lighten up. Enlighten.
Spring cleaning of the body, mind and soul… and cabins and land.
Take care of them all.
Everything matters; nothing matters.
Consolidate. Prioritize. Pare down to the basics. Get rid of the baggage.
Clear yourself of judgments, expectations, assumptions, demands, criticism.
Be curious about the beautiful world around you.
Be a part of it, not separate and detached.
Get to know yourself. Unadorned with ones past, possession or pretenses.
Let go of the ego, self definition and social status.
What are you left with?
Fresh soil on a raw spring day.
- Summer: Work. Give.
This is the season of plenty.
Of growth and abundance and long days and clear connection with heaven and earth through sun and rain and rich soil and the brilliant colors of wildflowers and soft embrace of the wind.
Now it’s time to replenish, fill your self with positive stuff.
Nourish and nurture. Our body, mind, soul. Those around us, the world we live in.
What matters most?
Whatever works for you, but not just for you:
Pray, meditate, practice, tend to your body, the Earth, give, do and care for others?
We live in the days of choice.
- Autumn: Remain. Complete.
Autumn. Settling in, stocking the pantry, storing up for the long winter ahead.
This is the time of completion: fruit ripens, seeds form, leaves are released and branches laid bare.
This is time of bringing the life blood back to the roots where it will remain for the long cold season ahead.
Here’s the one thing often missing. The key to making the equation work.
It’s called commitment.
Sticking with it.
Completion of a task well done.
Commitment is not a four letter word. It won’t bite. Try it.
Commitment is not a popular word these days. Old fashioned.
As in, “Oh, really, you’re still working there?” “You’re still doing that?” “You’re still with him?”
Yes, yes, and yes.
And this what allows us to become really good at something, get stuff done, complete what we start out to accomplish, be true to our word, deepen our relationships, complete one thing so we can move on to the next, and know for sure we can get more done.
Not to say it’s about accomplishment. That is not the goal. But accomplishment as part of the natural process. How can you grow and move beyond without completing and concluding?
Are we as flighty as the wind or as solid as the earth we stand upon?
Are we above this earth or a part of it?
Depending on your beliefs… and respecting others for theirs.
I see the cow elk running through the woods with her calf and the red-tailed hawked soaring above screeching her return to the mountain and the purple heads of the monkshood coyly emerging and hear the song of the Mighty Rio echoing on the cliffs.
This is the world around me.
And I am honored to be of this earth.
My ego does not place me greater than this, but connected to it all.
- Winter: Dormancy.
Here in the high country in winter, in the vast whiteness that it is,
This is your time of stillness,
Until you must, for you will, because life moves, we move.
We are neither static not stagnant.
This is the secret of the seasons we are not told
But we observe
The time to settle in and go deep and in our quiet slumber, find our inner truths.
This is when change happens, we become.
We are constantly evolving, growing. We are not inert beings (read: stick in the mud?)
Change is a certain part of our human existence.
No, this doesn’t mean bag the commitment and try something new at every whim.
It means complete, release, and evolve. Flow with the process.
It means to take the time to consider. Where are you? Where did you come from? Where are you going? Where are you here and now?
Understand the seasons and be a part of them.
Let one blossom fade and fall off while a new bud begins to form, and a blossom opens.
Don’t get stuck in the mud, but know where to grow strong roots.
Are we meant to rise above our human existence, or make the most of it?
Transcend from this beautiful world, or be humble and grateful of the world around us, find our place and understand why we are here?
And so the cycles of the seasons continues.
Are we ever in just one stage? Only for brief moments. Like the seasons, we are ever changing. Because the nature of life is movement and change, and so we flow. This is our evolutionary existence.
Well, back to the beginning.
Spring. Mud. And cleaning.
So there you have it. Spring cleaning. It’s not just about dust and cobwebs. It can be a first step to enlightenment. But instead of cabins, it’s our heart, mind and soul. Dust of those cob webs. Get rid of the tracks that came in from who or where we don’t even remember. Clean up the old pile of old news in the corner that’s been there since last year. Make room for new stuff. Good stuff. Allow yourself time to breathe, and create a space to expand.
Oh, and speaking about those cobwebs…
I leave you with this story.
Okay, I know a lot of you don’t like spiders and find them really creepy, but for the sake of this story, try to forget that for just a moment and hear me out. Think of them as “natural.” And there I was, out in nature. So, spiders have their place. Believe me, I’m not big on them in my bedroom either…
Out on a walk in the woods yesterday, I came across a spider web tucked gracefully under a tree with speckled light illuminating the fine silks and a small gray spider the color of tree bark poised in the center, resting. I stopped and stared and considered something beautiful from this simple sight.
Think about the correlation. She starts with nothing. Air. Space. And into that, she spins her web,
Perfect, beautiful, intricate, with care, symmetry.
How long did it take her to create this? She gives it everything she can to create it. Now it is.
And when her hard work is done, she sits and waits.
In due time, into that web that she so carefully formed, comes exactly what she needs. She doesn’t plan or act or lure or try any fancy tricks. She just creates, with hard work, commitment and care. And then with patience, she allows and trusts and knows…
Shared today on Conscious Life News.
5 thoughts on “On Seasons and Enlightenment”
Special thanks to my beautiful (inside and out!) model, Sweet Alyssa.
Happy spring cleaning!
I am here at my desk(our dining table) in tears of joy to see my gypsy daughter delighting in the world you are graciously sharing with her. Thank you,thank you!
and thank you for your thoughts on cleaning and more. Although I have enjoyed the art of cleaning most of my life I have recently embraced that it is caring that I am doing. Caring for my surroundings, the home that embraces my family life, caring for my things, so many of them bring sweet remembrance of special moments shared with my daughters and my friends. I find a clean home last briefly, a cared for home radiates love,warmth and joy and gratitude.
Ah yes, spring cleaning is so cleansing. Letting go, getting rid of stuff is so freeing. I don’t have much, but am still getting rid of things and it feels good.
Thanks for your inspiring post Gin. Love the pics. Alyssa is beautiful.
I always know it’s spring when I start getting the urge to paint something, sell something, redecorate or move. Every Year. It never fails. LOL In my life I’ve done all of the above – sometimes simultaneously. Come to think of it – the last 4 times I’ve moved it’s been in the Spring. Lately though – I clean. I wonder how a house that I’ve kept up with all winter could possibly be so dirty! But I wake up in the Spring like everything else. More light. More energy. More ideas and thoughts. More peeling back layers and growth spurts. Definitely Enlightenment,