I recently recorded a Life Talk (see above) on the seasons of life and things that are helpful to know when you are experiencing a crisis. I am currently in the midst of a crisis. I based the call on a concept I learned from Jim Rohn about the phases or seasons of life, as well as a podcast I listened to 5 times because it was so helpful for me dealing with the recent loss of my father. It has been extremely helpful to me and I hope it is helpful to your family. Here goes...
I came across a story recently which describes the seasons of life really well.
"There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn to not judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.
The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the autumn.
When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.
They all saw different things.
The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted.
The second son said no - it was covered with green buds and full of promise.
The third son disagreed, he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen.
The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.
We all have different seasons in life.
The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but one season in the tree's life.
He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are - and the pleasure, joy, and love that cove from that life - can only be measured at the end when all the seasons are up.
Don't judge a tree by one difficult season. Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest."
For me, each season describes a point in your life through which you travel many times. Both physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. So lets explore each of these seasons in brief detail so that you are better able to understand the seasons of your life and grow to your ultimate potential.
Winter is the season where you have to operate at your best while the world around you, including the circumstances you face – Be they financial, emotional, social or otherwise are challenging. Winter is the time where you must survive and live on previous spring and summer harvests where wealth, emotional lessons, social welfare and connections with others have been strong. In winter, some or all areas of your life will breakdown and not be as strong. It is important for you as an individual to look inside of yourself, reflect and grow.
In doing so you are able to understand life lessons and move onto the next season of your life which is spring.
Spring is the time to plant the seeds of your reflections and previous experience and make sure that you enjoy the warmer weather.
The beginning of new relationships, new jobs, improved economies and emotional strength when overcoming a crisis or catharsis when previously faced in winter. This is the season for you to start preparing yourself for the life you will lead in future seasons, while also taking some time to reflect and smell the roses because soon the flowers of life will wilt and die. Setting their seeds for the harvest which is coming in summer.
This is the season for you to excel.
To make a harvest and to completely be a go-getter in life and make the most of what you got. All of the lessons/reflections which you have learned in your winter as lessons are best put to use to make the most of your finances, relationships, friendships, career opportunities and in your ability to create fame. Summer for those who embrace it is their period of ultimate development and character building. Without summer there would be no harvest and thus no sacrifice to make sure that you have enough emotional, spiritual, financial and physical food to get you through the next two seasons and back to spring again.
This is the season that gives you the ability to make a name for yourself. Because at the end of every summer there is a fall, an autumn and a period where you need to start preparing for the winter.
Fall or Autumn is the maturity of the harvest.
It is the time where after everything is said and done. Maturity, learning and the ability to put everything aside in the knowledge that what is done is done and that all change is change is both a significant and profound observation to make about fall.
This is the time to start putting your harvests away in preparation for winter and is a transitory period of perspective and change to a new level of awareness in your life. Nothing more, nothing less can be said of autumn or fall other than to say that you should be glad to have made it there. That and to also consider that the next winter of your life is coming and coming rapidly and that Autumn/Fall is a good time to prepare for it.
This is what I have learned and lectured about in the seasons of life. When you go around exploring your world, your preparing for or are experiencing an important season of your life. It is your job to both understand what season it is and to also work through what this season is trying to teach you.
In life we will experience many positive things and many negative things. There are sunny days, rainy days, thunder storms, wind, and sometimes natural disasters. Life is like that too. The good days and bad days. The small stuff and BIG stuff. This is why resilience is so important.
I believe that we learn much more from negative experiences than we do from positive ones. The only time we stretch our comfort zone and truly grow in character is when we are under pressure. In life we all have and will experience moments that stand out and change us. How we are changed is something we can guide.
Let's imagine the worst has happened and you (or someone you love) are in crisis. There is a process you will go through on the path to healing.
Often people experience the stages of grief if they have lost something or someone important. It could be a death, breakup or divorce, betrayal of a friend or lover, or even a lost job or opportunity. When life "happens" and we have an experience like this there are some things that are helpful to know.
It is normal to feel overcome by emotion.
I'd compare it to being thrown out into the middle of the ocean with no life preserver and no land in site. It is hard to imagine how to get out of this situation and how you'll survive. You'll experience a range of emotions from shock, denial, frustration, despair or depression, anger and bargaining. The feelings you will have will bounce around. The stages of grief are not linear. They do not happen in a particular order. You will have all the emotions and there will be days you'll inch closer to land and days you'll tread water or feel like you may drown. It is helpful to know the experience is like that and you are not going crazy.
You'll need to trust though that someday you will find yourself plopped onto the warm sand and come to the stage of acceptance or integration of the experience. It will be something hard you went through, not that you are going through currently. You may find the good in the experience and stop wishing it away and allow it to just be. You will have moved on.
It is helpful to know this is where you'll end up. You won't always feel the way you do right now. All things change even feelings.
You have the power to help yourself through any crisis. Be kind to yourself. Be non-judgmental of your thoughts and feelings. Be sure to sleep when you are tired, eat when you are hungry, and do lots of self-care. When you are thinking too much get out of your head and into your body. Exercise, meditate, focus on your breath, get out in nature, just do something that gets you in touch with your body and being present.
Hard times are excellent opportunities to build your resilience. Resilience refers to how well you can deal with and bounce back from the difficulties of life. It can mean the difference between handling pressure or losing your cool. Resilient people tend to maintain a more positive outlook and cope with stress more effectively.
Another trait it is time to connect with is courage. Courageous people are scared and fearful like everyone else, but they dig down deep and find something more important than their fear to act anyways. It is important for children to have everyday opportunities to practice this, such as trying a new food or activity, standing up for someone, or trying out for the school play. When the BIG things come around it's more likely they will have the courage necessary to do the right thing.
Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals. It is the ability to persist in something you feel passionate about and persevere when you face obstacles. This kind of passion is not about intense emotions or infatuation. It’s about having direction and commitment.
Please talk with your children about the seasons of life and character traits they will need to develop to deal with life. If you are looking for a way to carve out time in your busy schedule to have meaningful talks like these with your kids be sure to check out our Life Talks program.
To end today I wanted to share an infographic I found online on how you can help your children develop more grit. Remember to always keep talking!
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