As creative beings, it is in us to create and recreate ourselves and our lives as it makes sense to us. When we have the energy. Change, push, grow.
For over 20 years, I have waited until the day of the summer solstice to eat spinach and strawberry salad. It’s a sacred time of year for me and this has been one of a series of traditions I have enacted and followed to celebrate the beginning of summer. But this year, after our difficult winter transitioned straight into summer, something just didn’t feel right. I’d felt similarly before and made the decision to wait it out, feeling like waiting until the solstice honoured my reverence for summer and seasonal tastes.
But this year, it was different. So many things have been different.
This year, I realized it didn’t mean the same thing to me anymore and holding onto this tradition was hollow. So when a friend invited my family for supper in early May, I showed up with spinach and strawberries, poppy seed dressing and sunflower seeds and mixed that salad up. It was delicious. More importantly, I gave myself the room to simply let go of something that wasn’t working for me anymore and it felt great. It felt like a long time coming.
My intention this year has been to learn to care for myself in a way that I hadn’t for a number of years, if ever. Radical self-care. Me, first. It has been a year of change, metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is a theme in nature. When an organism in nature needs to change, it just does. There is no judgment, there are not feelings. Change is necessary for survival. Change, push, grow. It’s merely an undeniable fact.
Practically speaking, this is rather different for us humans. Let’s just say during my metamorphosis there have been several moments where I have bumped up against the edges of what feels right, due both in part to my own inexperience and how my changes have affected my relationships. There have been several moments of discomfort, doubt and fear. Am I making the right decisions? Will I come out the other side? Am I sacrificing too much?
It’s hard to grapple with these feelings, to rest in what is difficult. So many of us use these moments to inspire action or movement, and sometimes I do, too. But through this process of learning to care better for myself, I’ve reminded myself to slow down and listen, trying to push myself into the new, even if that means stopping and noticing what is difficult to stop and notice. In this practice, I am honouring myself and cultivating the most important tradition of all. It has been scary and I am grateful for the people in my life who (knowingly and unknowingly) have heard me and offered support.
What I’ve come to learn so far is invaluable. It is a knowing that I will indeed come out the other side, every single time. I will also likely be somehow new. There is so much freedom in this realization. My freedom. I have let go of the things that no longer serve me and other things just continue to fall away. I am noticing changes big and small. That’s all I really need right now.