I was wondering the other day why the new year is seen as the time to plan your life – ‘new year, new you’ and all that… It’s a totally artificial human-created timescale. And one that doesn’t make the most of our natural seasons and rhythms, the ones that we are hard-wired as homo sapiens to follow.
So what does nature teach us about the best time to plan? Perhaps you might think spring, making the most of that seasonal burst of energy that we all have. Yes, we are wise to make the most of our natural energy bursts, and to precede it with a calmer winter season, but I think the best time to plan is autumn.
When we look at nature at this time of year we see seeds ripening – seeds that often won’t start to grow until spring, but the ground work is being done now. When we plan in autumn we can build on the momentum of the summer and it gives us a few months of quieter time over autumn and winter to reflect on our choices so that when we implement life changes they will last (not all our choices will last for hundreds of years, like an acorn will, but it’s still important to make sure our life changes are sustainable, for ourselves, other people and for the planet).
In autumn we also see living beings getting rid of things they no longer need. When they do so they recycle what’s available into something better (the way that trees recycle the nutrients from their leaves, resulting in spectacular autumn reds and golds). When we plan in autumn we can reflect on past experiences and recycle them into new ones. If we’ve experienced trauma, loss, hurt or illness we can find ways to transform these into new life, learning or (like some of us) even careers…
Remember also successful planning takes time – it takes months between an acorn falling until it germinates, quite the opposite of our ‘busy, busy, busy’ culture, where we think new ideas must be implemented yesterday! Learn from nature with slow and small solutions (just one of the natural principles you’ll explore on a Think like a Tree course).
And finally, remember, your acorn plans will need the right conditions to germinate, so planning early gives you opportunity to seek out and create a niche where you can thrive. Don’t assume your niche already exists – sometimes you have to go out and create one (like a forest creating a microclimate of warmer, wetter conditions).
So when you head outside today, why not notice the changing seasons and ask yourself ‘what changes would I like to make in my life?’. Find a tree and ask ‘what can you teach me about how to live a better life?’.
If you’d like to find out more about how nature can help you change your life come on a Think like a Tree course – online and in person.