Winter Planning - Spring Planting Summer Husbandry - Autumn Harvest
Like the seasons in nature and agriculture, people and organizations cycle through distinct seasons. In winter, we rest from the previous cycle and plan for the beginning one. In spring, we plant the seeds of our plans which, in summer, we cultivate to foster productivity and promote yield. In autumn, we harvest the fruits of our labours and enjoy the rich bounty.
For humans and organizations, these seasons are not always of the same length nor do they necessarily encompass one calendar year, but they always come in the same sequence. We may have several different seasons running concurrently in the various cycles of our lives: personal, family, education, career and projects. Still, much of our lives are tied to the natural seasons. In this column, we will be exploring the impact of natural and life seasons on ourselves as we go through the various cycles of life.
Autumn is a good season for beginning to live gently. It is the time for harvesting the fruits of winter planning, spring planting and summer husbandry. With a good harvest, we can take the first steps to live a more gentle lifestyle or at least to start planning for changes in lifestyle. We can store our harvest, whether of food, knowledge or financial resources, from which to draw as we make the transition from our current lifestyle to one which walks more gently on the landscape. A portion of that harvest can be enjoyed now, in celebration and thanksgiving of the successes of the past. A portion of the harvest should also be saved. Saved for the time until the next harvest. Saved for seeds for next year's planting. Saved for the future as a safety net against unforseen setbacks. An abundant harvest gives us the resources to easily enter the period of winter planning and spring planting. A time for renewing our commitment to a more gentle life.
Autumn is a good time for taking the first steps toward voluntary simplicity of lifestyle because we are generally entering from a position of strength and high energy which empowers us toward further successes. But what if the harvest had been poor or ended in failure? Such an event in life's seasons could be a failed venture or the loss of employment. Here, we enter into involuntary simplicity. We are forced through circumstances to live with less. We could wallow in a poor me mentality, blaming others for our plight or we can seize the opportunity to begin on the journey to living gently. This journey may be rockier than that following a good harvest, but the sense of urgency is heightened. The initial path may be more painful, but the full journey is just as rewarding.
When entering voluntary simplicity after a poor harvest, we must not feel that we are entering as failures for being in this position. We may have made mistakes, but they are life's basic educational unit and we must learn from them, not pity ourselves for them. One lesson we can learn from the poor harvest is that a good harvest is not guaranteed no matter how favourable the climate, how rich the soil, or how hard we work. Poor harvests may come from uncontrollable circumstances or from our own mistakes. In either case, we must rise the next morning and begin the process of planning and planting again.
Let us use this autumn season to celebrate life and give thanks for our good fortunes. In doing so I like to renew my pledge to the father of the heavens and mother of the earth to take only what I need, leave the rest for others and treat my home land with love and respect so that others yet to come may enjoy the bounty my ancestors left me. I thank all forms of life, big and small, seen and unseen, for their help in producing my good life.
The harvest is in. Beauty and love surrounds me. Rejoice, my friends. Let us sit back and enjoy the good life.
As each autumn season ends, we evaluated our harvests and renew our commitment to life. Now it is time to enter into the winter season, the time of planning. We'll talk again then.