Periodically during the year, we make grand plans. Sometimes it’s because there’s a new year beginning, sometimes it’s a new quarter, or a new month or even just one week at a time.
The most productive, aligned way to manage your life is to simply to let it unfold. See what shows up, check it out in the moment and decide if this is the time to explore and develop that idea.
Otherwise we run the risk of being overwhelmed.
It helps to follow the seasons
There’s an unfolding flow in nature that we would do well to align ourselves with.
Winter: Contemplate and explore the possibilities in the seed catalog. Close what to plant.
Choose only the things you really want to do and the things you realistically can accomplish. How many plants can you grow in your personal garden of self?
I’m exploring new ideas and they’re currently in sort of a book format because that’s how I’m organizing my own learning process. However, the idea of working on a book while doing all this inner exploration/discovery work is overwhelming.
So, since it’s winter, I’ll contemplate the choices and experiences before me and go exploring to better understand what I’m being called to do. I place my order from the idea seed catalogue. That’s all I do – choose my priorities.
I may have different criteria for my choices – income, most effective use of time, greatest impact, easiest to do. A full seed catalog can be tempting. Do a reality check before you place your order.
Spring: Choose how many seeds you will plant based on what you can realistically care for, want to harvest and how much is needed.
After choosing what we want to plant, we have to do a reality check on how much we can physically and emotionally care for. How big is the garden plot (your available time). We have to prepare the ground. What skills and equipment or help do you need to produce this crop? Then you have to decide how much to plant based on how much you can care for and harvest and, better yet, use.
These are the decisions of spring. How much to plant. Where to plant. And make certain not to overprint or underplant. Give careful thought to what you actually need to produce.
I seem to have a second book that’s much closer to completion than this one I am creating from my new work. Hmmm. Can I harvest two crops? Oh yes, and there’s a niggle that I might record some guided meditations. Be careful here that you don’t choose too much to plant because there’s a lot of work to be done in the cultivation and care and bringing to harvest of whatever you choose.
Summer: Do the work
This is the part I love – the growth and development of an idea. The unfolding of a book. It’s a time for deep creativity and introspection as I pull together all I have learned in a form that others can understand. I put what I’ve been learning into a form I can share that will help others move along a similar path.
What will be required of you to tend the crops you have chosen to plant? Can you bring the crop safely to harvest?
Fall – Harvest what you sowed
I dread this part. We are talking technical stuff. Not hard, I just don’t do it very often. Get the book out the door stuff. But if that’s all I do for the fall – complete and publish – that doesn’t feel so daunting.
See how working in seasons makes the task less daunting?
There’s another step here I tend to not do well – let others know what I’ve created. So perhaps I can devise practical and realistic ways to do that.
If you found a stumbling block in your projected harvest, what solutions can you explore and what choices can you make earlier in the year to help you move through this challenge?
Completion time is made for giving gratitude for the gifts you have harvested and been encouraged to give.
Fall is also the time to notice what your work produces. What is popular and what is not? What did you run out of? It’s time to evaluate what action has called to you the most. Where did you receive the most satisfaction? What was the easiest part to do? Then set those ideas aside to be contemplated in the planning that takes place in the winter cycle.
Do your inner work
Before you begin a new cycle, do your inner work. What new skills did you develop? What do you want to do more of? Less of? What are the needs of the people you serve? How has the world changed? What is needed that you could provide?
What has changed in you and how will you honor that?
Then it’s time to begin the cycle again.
Deeper Song Process:
- Write down what you would like to accomplish in the next year, quarter, month, whatever you choose.
- Put a mark by the one accomplishment that would be the easiest to do.
- Put a different mark by the one that would make your heart sing.
- Use a different mark to identify the action that would bring in the most income, or whatever value you are working to achieve (personal growth, relationships, etc)
- Choose one project that you marketed and apply the seasonal steps to it.
- Winter – Contemplate the future possibilities. Order seeds.
- Spring – Plant what you can care for and harvest.
- Summer – Produce. Do the work. Get help if you need to.
- Fall – Take your harvest to market and see how it’s received.
- Repeat each season.
To Sing a Deeper Song, Consider: