This is a very weird time for me personally. I often forget that it’s coming. But it’s been this way for four years now. The season swiftly moves from spring into summer. Things tend to slow down a bit. You might take a break from meeting with a Bible study group. School is out. People go on vacation and are not as accessible. So your responsibilities shift and there’s less structure, and quite possibly some gaps left in your calendar. It’s a change.
Before my husband died, I welcomed change. I lived for the free-wheeling summers of relaxation and book reading, spontaneous trips to the hill country, and lots of “nothing” on my calendar. But not so much now. There are a couple of reasons, and one of them I’ve just recognized of late, and I’ll get into that later. But this is not just an adjustment to a change of season. I think it’s my subconscious preparing me for the upcoming date of Brian’s death in August.
So, I’m having to make adjustments. And like I said, I’ve been doing this “adjustment” for four years now, you’d think I was good at it by now. I am not. First, again, I forget that it’s coming. Seriously, I need to write it on my calendar in April reminding me to prepare my heart. Dang, that’s a really good idea. Because when it comes, it hits me square in the face. It hits me hard. And I have to adjust, and that can take a little while. I have to allow myself to grieve, again, the loss of what once was. And then to purposefully turn my attention to the beauty of what is. But honestly, that turning, that change, can’t come fast enough! Like I said, this is a weird place I’m in. If I could name it, I’d call it melancholy.
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” These are the lyrics of the song Turn! Turn! Turn! by The Byrds. One thing I’ve always been curious about, as a songwriter myself is, in the title, why the words turn, turn, turn are all in one-word-sentence form. Each word forms its own sentence and is followed by an exclamation mark. It’s “turn” exclamation mark, “turn” exclamation mark, “turn” exclamation mark. It’s not an incidental thing. To the songwriter, it has a very specific purpose. And, an exclamation mark is used when the direct speech should be shouted or spoken very loudly. Which is kind of ironic because they definitely don’t shout these words in the song. And because it’s likely we won’t know why the title is written this way (unless there’s an explanation out there that I haven’t found - and if so, please do tell me) we’re left to guess.
One thing we do know, is that this song is written based on the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 3, verses 1 through 8. It’s saying that there’s an appropriate occasion for every human event or activity. Matthew Henry commentated on these scriptures saying that, “We live in a world of changes; that several events of time, and conditions of human life, are vastly different from one another, and yet occur promiscuously, and that we are continually passing and repassing between them; there is a constant ebbing and flowing, waxing and waning.”
Yes, everything changes. That’s one of the Five Given’s in Life; that everything changes, and nothing stays the same. It’s a “given,” and nothing is going to change that. So, what we must do is find a way to move through the change; to learn to graciously move with the ebb and flow. Without self-condemnation, beating ourselves up, or blaming ourselves for being here yet again. For the fourth year in a row.
I think the reason I’m so intrigued with why the writer of the song Turn! Turn! Turn! put exclamation marks after each word, is because I kind of relate to that. Especially since the exclamation mark is a shout of the text. Turn! Turn! Turn! Like, let’s go. Let’s get this change, this transition, this waxing on over to the waning. Let’s go. I want to plow through it. I don’t want to sit in melancholy any longer.
But, if you listened to the episode Mindfulness Could Save Your Life from two weeks ago, you’ll know why it’s necessary for me to slow down and not rush through this transition. I encourage you to go listen to the full episode if you haven’t already, but in it I share how researches are finding that mindfulness can be used to change our bodies to prevent inflammatory diseases - including some cancers, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, Diabetes, and immune system disorders.
Mindfulness is just being purposefully present and aware. Being aware of what's happening as it's happening; bringing an awareness and a focus to present experiences with acceptance. It’s definitely not ignoring, or avoiding, or resisting how you’re feeling or experiencing in a situation. It’s definitely not plowing through it shouting, Turn! Turn! Turn!
If you’ve seen me on social media lately, you’ve seen me on my back porch laying in my hammock. It looks relaxing and leisurely. However, it’s the place where I’m having to do my greatest mind work. Mainly because I’m not really good at sitting still. And definitely not good at relaxing. Especially in the past five years. I just don’t seem to slow down. And I think the reason is because, when I do slow down and my mind is not occupied with a project or work or some other focus, then it just takes sort of a free-fall where I’m aware enough of my emotions. Can you relate? And then I have to start thinking about or dealing with those thoughts that start creeping up.
Because when you’re busy, it keeps you from having to be aware and deal with or think about or face all those questions that are still running around in your subconscious. And all the things you just don’t want to have to face because it’s painful. But they’re still back there, in your mind, whirling around, causing you more stress, and also causing, for me, this season of melancholy to stretch out longer than necessary.
So, I know what needs to be done in order to be mindful in the moment of what’s happening: To slow down and become the watcher of it. I explain that like this to my Life Coaching clients. Look at that moment that you’re in as if it were a clip, or a scene, in a movie. Watch or observe that scene as a third party and tell me what you see. What’s going on? What’s being said or done? And now, as the “watcher” of that scene, how would you explain that? Or what logic and reasoning would you bring so that we’re able to understand what might be going on? What is it that we could deduce or consider that’s beyond what you’re just observing?
Do you see? Becoming the “watcher” allows you to see things more objectively, without all the heightened emotions of it. This is being mindful in the moment. This is important for our health. For our vitality and longevity.
And because, in my Life Coaching practice, I integrate brain science with Biblical faith, I remind my clients that becoming a “watcher” is important for their spiritual health, too. Because to ignore something in a spiritual sense is like purposefully keeping the power of God at arms-length instead of inviting Him in to rescue us. As a “watcher,” it’s here that we’re able to take those observations and hold them up to the light of God’s truth. It’s here that we can ask God the more critical-thinking questions that lead to truth and His promises, rather than being solely driven by our emotions. It’s here that we’re able to see this one event through the lens of the foundation of our faith.
I was talking to my friend the other day who is also a Life Coach. Shout out to Sari. And she was telling me about a course she was taking and paraphrased the author, Michael Singer, saying this, “Consider this one thing, this one event, as a note. Appreciate the note for its own qualities (I, Tricia, would add here, for its unique tembre, texture, and tone.) This is just one note. But add it to all the other notes and you have a song. This one event is a note in the song of your life.”
As a singer and songwriter, I totally grabbed onto that. I’ve actually talked about that in a previous episode - episode number 30. This one note is added to the others to create a rich harmony to God’s beautiful melody of your life. There is a tension, then resolution as it joins a dance of the chords so complex that it can be confusing, yet so simple it’s melodically transfixing. The result wraps you up in something other-worldly and pulls you along one measure at a time. It is more meaningful and marvelous than you could ever imagine, hope, or dream, and God is the Great Maestro.
Here’s something else that I just learned recently: Songbirds such as canaries have seasonal modifications in their songs. They change their songs by using new neurons that have been wired into their neuronal circuitry developed from their life’s experiences - which include their social and migratory patterns. Yes, even the notes of the songbirds’ songs are modified as they relate to their world and experience seasonal change. So fascinating.
So, friend, what about you? What season are you in right now? Are you like me and you want to just plow through it to get back to feeling normal again? Let me encourage you to slow down. Become the watcher. You don’t have to be a music connoisseur to appreciate the note that this event is that is just one of thousands in a song of your life. In fact, by letting God’s rich melody pulse through your soul, and letting the notes of your life-experiences join in on the song He’s orchestrating, you will find that your life is indeed deep and rich. No need to rush through. No need to quickly “Turn! Turn! Turn!” through this season of change. Ebb and flow. Wax and wane. Knowing that you’ll be continually passing and repassing between the seasons of change. Because to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. And the God of heaven is crafting your beautiful song…one note at a time.
If you’re in transition or a season of change and you’d like some help getting to a place of mindfulness and clarity where you’re firmly standing on the foundations of your faith, I’d love to be your Life Coach.
I’ve put a link in the show notes for a free 30-minute call just so we can see if we’re a good fit to work together and show you how Life Coaching would work for you.
Also, don’t forget to get the free, downloadable guide that complements this episode. It has a few prompt questions that will help you personally work through some of the things I’ve talked about today.
Have a wonderful week, friends. See you next Wednesday for the next episode of Another Beautiful Life podcast.