Within the metaphor of the seasons, I have discovered a Fifth, a season that descends upon us when we step into the shadows of grief, loss, or change due to intense life transitions. Not always is the loss death, it can also be loss of relationship, loss of physical ability due to illness, accident, age or chronic, serious illnesses such as cancer.
Sometimes, other types of life events can put us in the throws of the Fifth Season. The let down after peak experiences such as returning home after extended travel or spiritual experiences that place us in a transcendent type state. The Fifth Season brings with it an acute awareness of our mortality, the fragile nature of life and the sense of how fleeting each moment is.
In the Fifth Season we often do not know what to expect, often feeling “outside” due to our experience but expected by the world around us to carry on as always. Our exteriors are the same, but our interior lives are fundamentally changed. Most often we have lost someone or some part of ourselves.
Love is as much a part of the Fifth Season as is grief. The two walk together. Our hearts cannot reconcile or foresee the journey forward as the season we were in has abruptly changed. In the shadows of the Fifth Season, we only know how to live and love by looking behind us at the road we traveled and cannot conceive of how to proceed forward into our lives as they are now.
This is the grief; how can we possibly live in a world that is so fundamentally changed? How can we step back into our ”work” clothes and show up as we always have? How can we keep our hearts open?
Because of this unknown and uncomfortable territory, we need to care for our soul and our heart with a tenderness that is uncommon. We need new guideposts and guides. We need to understand ourselves and our hearts, to allow ourselves to go through this transformation, despite the discomfort.
We need to be reminded that it is a season, that this will change, that we can create a new story. We need support and soft blankets even on summer days.