Lesley Garner
Lesley Garner
Who Am I? Journalism
Books News Contact Home
Life Lessons
Everything I've ever done
that Worked
- Introduction
- Reviews
- Extracts
Everything I've ever
Learned about Love
Everything I've ever
Learned about Change
The Times of Our Lives

Everything I've Ever Done that worked

When the Sea is Rough, Mend your Sails

Sometimes nothing seems to be working. You’re between jobs. You’re
in a relationship desert. You’re trying to get projects off the ground but nobody
is returning your calls. You should be training for a marathon, but you’ve turned
your ankle. You’re longing to move home, but deals keep falling through. You’ve
reached the stage where you would even give up and go with the flow if you
could, but there is no flow.

Sometimes life is just like that. If, when you look clearly at the situation,
you seem to be making the right moves and the world isn’t responding, it may
be time to take the desperation out of your voice and eyes and respond to the
deeper rhythm of events. You may have entered a period of winter. Winter isn’t
terminal, it isn’t death. It’s simply time to hibernate, to turn your energy inward
and do your growing underground.

Westernized culture doesn’t support hibernation. People lead global
24-hour lives where nothing ever sleeps. TV, radio, news, transport, light, heat,
internet all keep going like a funfair. Nothing switches off any more and life is full on, or seems to be, so when it goes quiet for us it seems like a violation of the
natural order, but it isn’t.

Outside the industrialized, computerized world, whether you go back
in time or sideways into different cultures, people understand the slower
rhythms of life much better than we do. ‘To everything there is a season,’ says
the Bible. Gardeners know it. Fishermen know it. Sailors, farmers, nomads know
it. If you look closely at your own life you can see it too. The rhythm changes.
Sometimes things flourish, events pile up. Sometimes life feels as though it’s
gone into slow motion, even stopped.

I’ve found that the way to survive the little winters of life is to keep working
but to reduce your activity and greatly reduce your expectations. At times like these
it never works to force anything. When the sea is rough, mend your sails. When the
ground is frozen, live off your harvest. When you can’t take the herds into the pasture,
give them hay and stay by the fire and weave your rugs or mend your tents.
Assuming you’re not a fisherman or a nomad, there are plenty of things
you can do in times of hibernation. These are times for editing your possessions,
harvesting your resources, evaluating your progress, learning new skills, cultivating friendships, catching up on reading or sleep, caring for your body,
going within and reconnecting with your dreams. There may be lessons to be
learned and now you have the time to learn them. Your maps may need to be
redrawn and now you have the time to redraw them, knowing all the time that
the season and the energy will shift.

As spring follows winter, times of inactivity are followed by times
where your feet don’t touch the ground. A season in the wilderness, which can
happen to the most gifted, famous and celebrated people, can quickly become a
call back to the market-place. And when the call comes, you’ll be prepared,
because one thing you do in times of inactivity is keep faith with yourself, your
abilities and your dreams. You keep preparing, so that when the change comes,
as it always does, you are ready to respond. And the next time the signs of winter
come round you can recognize and greet them without fear.

Writing Pen
Writing Pen
  web design: pedalo limited