Seasons of Life

We have recently sold our house.  We lived across the road for 15 years and in our current home for 7.  It’s a warm friendly place on the banks of the river in  the western suburbs of Brisbane. 

Nearly everyone who visits remarks on the positive feelings that they experience when they visit.  No doubt this is a reflection of Angela’s purpose of Rejuvenating Spirit.  Once a large family home, we (mainly Angela)  ran it for some time as a B&B.  some time ago, we closed it to concentrate more on our On-Purpose Business. 

We are moving to a new eco- development, part-way between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The new home is still by the water as we love the restorative and recreational benefits of living in such an environment. 

All this has reminded me of the Seasons of Life.  I didn’t really think much about this topic until I started facilitating The Power of Your Purpose Workshop. The four seasons are a great metaphor for life.  We all experience “summer”, “autumn”, “winter” and “spring”  in our lives – whether it be in relationships, in our work or our general peace of mind. 

An ancient writer (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8) wrote, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven”.  It has been popularised by the Seekers in their song Turn Turn Turn and also by the Byrds.  It speaks about a time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant, a time to heal, a time to weep, a time to laugh and so on.  Read it through and listen to the song.

The question is what season are you in and how do you stay on-purpose throughout the different seasons of your life?  Many of us go through ‘winter’ seasons and for some, ‘spring’ never seems to come.  Or we get so blaise about living in ‘summer’ we take so much for granted that we never prepare  ourselves for the inevitable changes. 

So, I have found living on the river and watching and experiencing the ever changing ebb and flow of the river,  a useful image and metaphor.

Kevin McCarthy in his book The On-Purpose Person, talks about different ways we usually respond to our different life seasons.  We are either ‘floaters, ‘fighters’, ‘fleers’, ‘flitterers’, or ‘navigators’? What are you?

Let’s stay with the river metaphor a little longer.  Imagine that with each passing day the river current speeds faster.  White water rages ahead.  Will you dive, survive, or thrive during these turbulent times in you life?  What’s your attitude or ‘gut’ response?  Are you angry about life in these times?  If so, you are probably a ‘fighter’.  Flotsam and Jetsam may smack you around the ears as you relentlessly pursue your goals against the raging current of life.

To change the metaphors,  is your ‘ladder’ up against the right tree? Is there a far away beat of another drum that is calling you?

Are you ignoring the changes, falsely believing that they will have little impact on your life?  Then you are a ‘floater’?  If you want to run from it all, you are a  ‘fleer’. If you jump from one thing to the next, then you’re a ‘flitter’.

Which ever of these responses is chosen, the fate of each group is predetermined.  ‘Fighters’ eventually burn out and become ‘Floaters’. Eventually they have given up- exhausted, depressed and  anxious and resigned to just ‘going with the flow’.  Perhaps this is expressed by the new ‘Whatever’ syndrome.  ‘Floaters’ become tragic victims of their own making, while they often blame those around them for their situation.  ‘Fleers’ run out of fear of being discovered.  Their lack if engagement in life becomes an empty and wasted prison of their own design.  ‘Flitters’ are on the move constantly, seeking answers in new jobs, books, relationships, philosophies and so on.  They are caught on an endless roller coaster of extreme hope and despair as they are always living in the future, while missing out on living in the ‘now’.

All of these – fighting, floating, fleeing and flitting are responses to life events and seasons.  Each of us has a dominant one.  The difference in being an On-Purpose Person is that you become a ‘navigator’.  As a ‘navigator’, you learn to choose to respond appropriately to the circumstances or situation in which you find your self.  You respond with your Purpose informing your choice.

For me, that means responding to this new season in my life with enthusiasm.  My Purpose of Igniting Enthusiasm means I am looking forward to the new possibilities ahead.  Being a navigator means you are self-aware, you know what you want and where you are going but you are also aware of the dangers and hazards ahead – you know the flow and then can go with the flow.  Being a navigator means you can move ahead, (no matter how tentatively sometimes) with intention and bright hope for the future.

To be honest, the thought of moving house for me was initially not that easy.  Subconsciously, I was a ‘f’ighter’.  I was in summer.  I love our present home, its lovely balcony overlooking the river, its warm nuturing atmosphere, this wonderful study and training facility especially built for our business, the leafy river bank filled with the sounds of numerous birds, the wonderful serenity of the river walks and so on… But the season here is over.  It’s time to move on. 

All the above (and more) is replicated  in our new home.  We don’t need six bedrooms and four bathrooms anymore.  There’s just the two of us.  We will be closer to the location where our business is increasing.  My initial reaction as a ‘fighter’ led to unhelpful emotions, stress, anxiety, somewhat heated “discussions” with Angela, mainly to do with staying in my comfort zone and with “attachments”.  I was off-purpose in so many ways.  Now I can’t wait.  I know the flow of some of the river that lies ahead and will embrace the the other “unknowns”  with positivity and enthusiasm.