In our busy, modern lives, there’s an unspoken expectation that we should be able to do all the things, all the time. We want to run our businesses, be present partners and parents, keep up our exercise routines, and complete our daily meditations.
But keeping all these activities and rituals going in every season of our life isn’t realistic or sustainable.
Life has many seasons. Each with their own focus and energy.
There are cycles in life; cycles for focusing on business and career, cycles for more time with family, and times where we need to slow down and invest in our self-care and growth.
Sometimes life’s cycles come out of intention or choice, and other times, they’re thrust upon us when life throws us a curveball.
One of our children needs more attention…
An unexpected business opportunity shows up…
An elderly relative needs our care…
Or a global pandemic or other world event changes our circumstances….
When one of these changes unexpectedly shows up, the tendency is to resist the change.
I often see this in my clients. Their circumstances shift and instead of flowing with what life is presenting to them, they continue to push to fit everything into what they had planned or the path they were on before.
This comes from a more “masculine” or yang energy and it often leads to stress and overwhelm, as they try to make sure that, on top of the new element life has presented them, they also keep up their work hours, complete their daily workouts, make time for meditation, and finish every item on their to-do list.
They rely on structure and discipline to keep them on track in the midst of change, and as a result, they end up frustrated or burned out.
There are times in life to harness the power of masculine energy. When it’s go-time in business, and you need to create results, structure and focus will serve you. At other times though, these influences become counterproductive and end up causing more stress and draining our energy.
When a life cycle shows up that asks us to slow down, let go of some of our structure, and be more present, the best thing we can do is embrace it.
This ability to flow and adapt to the phases of life is a more “feminine” approach.
If you feel yourself experiencing stress or overwhelm and feeling like you can’t possibly get everything done, this might be a time to lean more into the rhythms of your life and worry less about achieving everything on your list of goals.
Consistency and discipline are key to success in life, but like everything, they have a season.
Both approaches have value and purpose in our lives. However, your life will become so much richer when you develop an awareness of the season of life you’re in, and surrender to the flow.
Here are three ways you can flow more with the seasons of life:
Feel Your Emotions – So You Can Release Them
Part of the process of releasing resistance to the cycles of life is letting yourself feel the emotions sparked by a particular season or shift. When life throws you something you weren’t expecting, it’s okay to feel sad, upset, or angry about it. Before you can choose how to move forward, you must let those emotions come up to be released.
Only then can you start to make strategic changes to support you during this time.
Get Clear on Priorities (And Prioritize Self-Care!)
When life feels too full, you start experiencing overwhelm, or you’re not sure where to focus your time and energy; take a step back and get clear on your priorities for the season you are in.
Try writing down everything on your mind and then choosing the three areas that need the most of your attention and energy right now. Give yourself permission to invest fully in those and give yourself grace in all other areas.
In most cases, during times of stress or overwhelm, self-care needs to be one of those top three areas! Of course, you can’t drop everything that needs to be taken care of in your life, but you can rearrange your priorities and make sure taking care of yourself is at the top of your list.
When you begin to feel nurtured and relaxed, your perspective will shift, and things will get easier.
Set the Context with Your Loved Ones
When I was in the busy years of raising my family and running my business, I prepared for the ebbs and flows of life by preparing my family and the people around me.
I would let my kids know, “For the next few months, we’re going into a busy time when we all need to be more focused and structured. Then when it passes, we’ll have more space for flow and family time again.”
Putting this kind of conscious intention around a phase or period of time helps you relax into what’s needed, and it helps the people around you feel prepared and have context for what to expect from you.
When you stop resisting the flow of what is, and remember that every season and cycle of life is beautiful in its own way, life becomes a dance. Sometimes fun and sometimes challenging, but always with a rhythm and harmony you can sense if you simply relax into the flow.
Remember: The more you can trust in the cycles of life, the more ease and peace you will experience on the journey.