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Learning to let go when our creative harvests fail to fruit
I’m in my element, as the transition from the heat of summer to the warmth of autumn becomes visible. The first fire burning in the hearth penetrates deep into my bones rather than a scorching heat that brushes the surface. The softening of summer’s lively green into fall’s vibrant reds and oranges will soon become a hauntingly beautiful and barren brown. Days cloaked in low-lying clouds that sometimes give a soft drizzle and other times a rumbling downpour.
Summer leaves me lethargic and my creative forces at rest while fall wakes me again and revives the muse. As beautiful as autumn and the returning darkness are, the awakening of the inner well also stirs the shadows.
This year’s garden was not a fruitful one. I can look at all the reasons for this and learn from them, as I reflect on the gardening experience each year. Regardless of how the conditions of this season compared to seasons prior, there’s a seasonal truth I encounter each year – grasping onto the garden as the fruits of my labor, or lack thereof, become realized, leaving me wondering if there are any last seeds I can plant with the lingering daytime warmth to fortify the unsatisfying harvest.
This year, nature spoke deeply – you must learn to let go when it’s time, allowing the leaves to wither and wilt, letting the beds rest. A common message, yes, but one that this area of my life needed to hear in its own way.
We feel this again, now, as the moon is full. The time in the moon cycle when our seeds have been planted and what bounty awaits us is beyond our control. It’s a time where we are asked not to do more, but to surrender control – to release doubt and fear and embrace wild belief in the possibility of what’s to come, of being supported by unseen forces.
When we live in a state of control, rooted in fear and doubt, we become consumed. Consumed with doing more, giving more of ourselves, and feeling like the success of our planting is dictated by continually feeding it our energy. Perhaps we’ve considered the impact of consuming content on our creative energy, but have we considered how we are being consumed by the success or lack thereof in our creative endeavors?
When we become consumed with the outcome of our creations, we never reach our full creative potential. We spend more time focused on what we’ll reap at the end than immersed in the beautiful process of cultivating growth. We miss the subtleties that let the strongest shoots take root. We try to force a bounty out of a withering harvest.
We can’t expect a bountiful harvest if we only set foot in the garden at the end of the season. We must show up regularly as inspired garden tenders – cultivators of creative seeds. We must show up for all the seasons of the creative process.
As we reach the end of the harvest season, it’s not a time to be consumed by or try to salvage what didn’t work. It’s time to throw the creative shoots that failed to fruit, along with the parts of yourself that stunt their growth, into the compost heap. Let them become the fertile soil where you’ll cultivate next season’s creative seeds. It’s time to enter the dark season, going within, mining the lessons in this year’s harvest, resting, recharging, and planning for what we’ll plant next season.
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