I had a major “a-ha” recently. It came to me when I sat down to write about Lammas, the Celtic holiday that celebrates the transition from summer to autumn. Here’s why I’m sharing it: it’s THE KEY to living from your soul and it’s so important to understand why.
In my Soul Medicine Sunday series, I write about each seasonal shift. As I began writing months ago, I assumed each season would have a unique message. And though they do, I just noticed an important theme that appears in each season: release.
In case it isn’t obvious, each season has a literal as well as figurative component. Winter is winter, but it’s also a part of the growing cycle, independent of what month it is. Winter is figuratively about the times in our lives when we need to rest.
So how does the art of “releasing” show up in each season?
In spring, it’s time to release ideas so they can take root.
There’s always a risk that your idea might not grow. When I get an idea for a painting, I dream about how beautiful it’s going to be. When someone commissions a painting, I want to create something that will get a good response, so I may hesitate to begin. The idea, after all, is safely nestled in my head where I can imagine my client loving it. There’s no risk involved in keeping the idea locked inside. In order to hand the painting over to my client, though, I need to release the idea and begin painting. That requires releasing a variety of fears. For me, the biggest is fear of failing to please my client. In order to begin a painting, though, I have to let that fear go.
In summer, it’s time to release the attachment to beauty and let things get ugly.
A cherry tree looks lovely dotted with pink flowers, but cherries can’t grow until the flowers drop their blossoms. For awhile the tree looks barren, but the fruit it eventually bares is delicious!
When I’m painting, summer is the time when I’m watching my idea come into fruition, or not. I have a pattern of getting to a point where I don’t like how the painting is turning out. The colors aren’t right or the composition is off balance. Whatever it is, it’s ugly to me and I start to panic! At this point, it’s REALLY important for me to release expectations of perfection and know I can change things until I love them.
If I attach to perfection, I feel blocked and can’t move forward. Once released, though, there is more space for Spirit to flow through me. There is more space for creativity, fluidity, and fun. The irony in this stage is that in releasing the need to reach perfection, my paintings eventually become more beautiful or engaging than I ever imagined they would be.
In autumn, it’s time to release the fruits of labor and share the harvest with the community.
When I fall in love with a painting, it’s hard to let it go. Even when I painted it for someone else. It’s sort of like giving up a baby. I conceived it, nurtured it, and helped it grow into something that didn’t exist before. But I need to release my attachment to the painting so my client can enjoy her painting–the fruits of my labor.
In winter, the quieter and cooler times, we must release our activities and rest or we risk burnout.
Before I begin another painting, I take some time off to rest. I release the old painting before I begin the new one. I want my energy to be clean when I work with my next client’s painting, so I do a ritual to let go of the first painting, and a ritual to begin the new one.
Releasing is the Key to Everything.
But in order to release successfully we must trust.
Trust in yourself.
Trust in the process.
Trust in a higher power.
Without trust, the thing you’re holding on to becomes a story you tell yourself over and over again: I don’t have time. I don’t have resources. I’m not good enough. Know one will like it. And this story will weigh you down to the point where you’ll feel tired and depleted because you’re not letting the creative (Source) energy flow through you.
So trust yourself. Trust the process. Trust in a higher power and you will be able to surrender with ease and do whatever it is you’ve always wanted to do.