“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” The book of Ecclesiastes
This has been a year of seasons for me — as it has been for everyone. The earth does some form of Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall no matter where you live on earth.
And life, for each of us expresses different seasons when we look back and evaluate our year as well.
For me, this year was defined by a Spring season of detox, weight loss, and healing as well as several intense months of coaching my clients. While that was all going on, I experienced a painful July of betrayal, an August full of perspective, going to Italy for 5 weeks in the Fall and now a season of this:
“the condition or period of an animal or plant spending the winter in a dormant state.” (i.e. a grizzly bear)
“an extended period of remaining inactive or indoors.” (i.e. a fair-weathered cyclist)
“having normal physical functions suspended or slowed down for a period of time; in or as if in a deep sleep.” (i.e. a butterfly)
“temporarily inactive” (i.e. a volcano)
Ever since I returned from Italy, I felt it.
Actually, while I was IN Italy, I felt that it was coming.
A season where I just kind of wanted the whole world to disappear
Or at the very least to just be quiet.
Okay, maybe not the whole world, but almost everyone other than my hubby and my sons and my closest circle.
But kinda funny/not funny — I even wanted them to go away sometimes too.
Or at least be very, very quiet.
A strong need for silence and time alone came upon me
As did a holy intolerance for people’s bullshit
And bad behavior.
I found myself muttering f-bombs and other colorful vocabulary words under my breath at people who had acted shitty to me, or about me, or about others.
Including the butcher at Whole Foods who never smiles and acts like a weenie when you ask him to do
you the favor his job of packaging up the ground beef in two pound portions.
I became increasingly aggravated by the ‘noise’ of social media and promotional emails telling me to “hurry up or I’ll miss it”
Which found me rolling my eyes, muttering some more, and hitting ‘delete’ as quickly as possible.
And sometimes, I’ve been even irritated enough to unsubscribe.
Which is how I’m feeling about relationships as well:
Ready to ‘delete’ them or ‘unsubscribe.’
‘Friends’ who end up being jealous of the good things in your life
‘Friends’ who don’t speak up or stand up for you when they have the chance
‘Friends’ who are so self-important that they can’t see how you’ve been deeply loyal and stood for them.
Or basically any people who say they’re ‘friends’ but who end up showing their true colors as ‘not friends’
(By the way, I don’t have a lot of any of these, but it’s funny how social media, or writing books, or the public work that I do has people more quickly categorized as ‘friends’ when they really aren’t. I think we need to find some better words…)
I’m ‘deleting’ things in my closets and cupboards. If I don’t need it and it doesn’t fit the categories that Marie Kondo and The Flylady both lay out: “Beautiful, useful, or something of value that I can pass down” then, I’ve been packing it up in boxes and leaving it out by the trash with a sign that says, “Free!”
Which, incidentally, is how I feel when those mentally and physically weighty things are out of my home:
Yeah. As you might imagine at this point in the blog, it’s been a ball of laughs being inside of me lately…
I’m normally such a gracious person and a ‘let it go’ (eventually and really pretty quickly) type of person.
But in this season, something’s different.
I can’t tell if it is perimenopause
Or turning 50
Or if I left my filter in Italy
Or if it’s broken
But I’m feeling a little spicy and ‘done’ lately.
My husband notices that I act that way when I’m tired at the end of the day. I get cranky and say bossy, sassafrassy things, and start complaining and being a ‘scooch’ (short for an Italian slang ‘scocciamento” or ‘scooch’a menz’ to the Sicilians in the room — which basically means ‘pain in the ass’ which basically describes how I’m being.) At which point, he (who knows I’ve worked my butt off since I awakened at 4 a.m. — serving our family, and my clients, and my online community, and my health) gently comes over with his soft, strong hand and guides me off of the couch and toward the bedroom.
“It’s time for little Stacey’s to go to bed.”
Because I’ve pushed myself longer than my body wants, I’m a little foggy with almost no sleep so, he directs me toward the basics of the nighttime routine and tells me to use the restroom.
While I’m doing that in my grumbling that he can’t hear
(but he probably can hear)
“Don’t you tell me when to go to the bathroom. I didn’t even HAVE to go to the bathroom until you told me to… why do you do that when you know I have a strong power of suggestion…”
… he puts the rain sounds on, dims the lights, turns off the wifi, and turns my heating pad on to that Goldilocks temperature.
He lovingly tucks me under my covers, kisses my forehead and then, stands at the foot of the bed and reaches under the blankets to grab my feet and give them a good rub.
He tells me with a smile on his face and so much love in his voice, “You’re a good girl, Stacey Robbins. You’ve worked so hard today. Thank you for how you take such good care of me and the boys. Thank you for making our home such a fun and loving place. Thank you for making such a big difference in the world.”
To which I roll my eyes and think, I am NOT fun.
To which he says, “And I know what you’re thinking, Stacey Confalone (he calls me by my maiden name when he wants me to remember he’s known me for more than 30 years so, he knows what he’s talking about) you ARE fun. And loving. And wise. And kind. And beautiful. And such a good person… yes, you are.”
And at some point, I stop mumbling and grumbling
And I sigh and I thank him
And tell him I love him
(even though he’s crazy for thinking this grumpy wife is fun)
And I surrender to the rest that is begging me to just. stop. talking
And I fall asleep.
St. Rocky tiptoes out of the room to do whatever a night person with more energy than I can fathom, does.
And by the time 4 or 4:30 hits the next morning, I’m wide awake. Cheery. Full of energy and optimism and a generous heart for the world to be healed while I’m on my watch.
There is no grumbling or mumbling or under the breath sassafrassiness.
That’s what sleep does for me when I’m way too tired:
It restores me back to me. That magical place called ‘rest’… where it’s dark, cool, and quiet — and I can dream dreams and wake at weird hours and breathe prayers for the people who come to mind before I drift back off again…
That hibernation is an important ‘season’ in my day.
I didn’t come up with that concept — that ‘season in a day’ it was a group of monks who called it the ‘hora’ – which in literal term means ‘hour’ but they determined that seasons aren’t always in months; they’re in the hours within our days. Our day can hold the rebirth of Spring or the vacant space of winter — all within a few hours — and in between there, you could have the joy of summer and the abundance of harvest. Or they could be totally flipped around or whatever they needed to be…
The monks remind us to not judge the seasons according to traditional time but according to the experience they were within living their 24 hours of that day. It’s freed me to not look at what time dictates but what my internal messages are telling me it’s time for.
That’s super helpful for me at this moment because much of the western world is gearing up for big New Year’s resolutions and trips to the gym and drinking shakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
And ick. I’m not there.
I feel like crawling into a cave, instead.
That ‘hora’ of my day when I wait too long before getting to bed gives me the visual for what helps me get re-centered again:
The loving care of someone who knows me and knows what I need.
The loving perspective of someone who sees the best in me — and the whole of me — even when the part of me that is cranky is taking center stage.
The loving practices of making the atmosphere warm, soft, and full of meditative sounds — for me, that is almost always water. My soul breathes in water.
The loving act of tucking under in a soft place and allowing myself to surrender to the rest that serves me.
And by the way, even though he may manage those nights here and there when I wait too long to go to bed, I don’t expect my husband to manage my hibernation…
I am the person who will provide all of those good and loving rhythms to myself as I make myself ready to get in my quiet, dark, cozy place.
I’m feeling a little like that grizzly bear
And the volcano
And the butterfly…
Pretty much all of the above.
And my holy intolerance for all the noise and unnecessary stuff in the closets, and fake news or fake friends is telling me:
it’s time to hibernate.
I’m not sure what the specifics look like just yet… I’ve already significantly cut back on social media since I returned from Italy 3 weeks ago (none in the middle of the night when I awaken, and none for the first four hours of the day). I keep my phone in the bedroom most of the time, away from me, when I’m at home. When I’m on a walk, I only call people I really want to talk to. When I arrange my coaching calls, I only work with clients who honor the time and deep, healing listening and space-holding that I provide on their behalf.
I’m reading more books.
And just sitting on the couch, staring into the pretty corner that now holds a Noble fir with Christmas lights.
In order to shape the vision for the hibernation with more intention, form and order (spoken like a true 1st born, Type A personality) I’m traveling with a friend and our kids to the mountains next weekend so that we can just ‘be’ and vision together for what the next season of life holds.
She’s feeling it too.
She doesn’t want to be around just anyone or just anywhere.
She’d rather be quiet than talk to someone just to fill space.
She wants to have thoughtful, meaningful conversations if she’s going to have any at all…
I can so deeply relate. That’s why we are going away together.
We will drink yummy Harvest Moons with Maker’s Mark or sip red wine around the fire.
We will take long walks or quiet sits by Arrowhead Lake and just breathe in the crisp mountain air.
And we will vision the inspiration for the next season while our kids frolic around in a cabin tree house, and paddle board, and (fingers-crossed) play in the snow.
So, I will know more when I will return from that time away and will share with you the ins and outs of the rest — but what I do know is that this season will involve more listening and more thoughtfulness — more quiet and more focus.
And because I know me, all of that ‘more’ that looks like less will benefit the intentions of supporting my kids and coaching clients, my Hashimoto’s community and the guests for my 2019 Italian Retreats.
Yes, I still plan for you to get weekly email updates from me. I bet there will be some good juicy stuff in there that will be pure gold for you — because that’s what happens in times like these!
In the meantime, like I said: I’m already clearing the space in preparation for it all — not just of my closets but of all of those dynamics and ideas in my life that aren’t beautiful, useful, or of great enough value to pass on.
And the hibernation time is going to allow me to do more of that with greater clarity and perspective.
I’m not sure when I will step out of the cave but what I do know is that the Divine is guiding me to my room to tuck me in to a really special ‘season’ that is a gift for me.
I know that I will come out of this time a better version of who I am.
So, with all the dry delivery of George Burns and the loving voice of my husband, I hear the Spirit’s voice inside of me:
“Say Goodnight, Stacey.”
And I walk up to the microphone, a little stunned from the fatigue — and like the good, little girl that I am, I say back with a little bit of tired and a little bit more sass: