It’s been quite a while since I shared a blog post with you all, but there’s been enough space in my life this Summer to devote some energy to reconnecting in this way. Most of my creative energy this season has gone to the Summer: Expand course in A Wild New School. Since our class started, I’ve been meditating on, writing about, and engaging in discussions regarding the Summer and what it has to teach us about growth and work.
For me, June 21 - July 22, when the Sun was in the sign of Cancer, was a time of tremendous recalibration and big questions about how I view stability, the work I’m here to do, and how I can become a wise ancestor. Taking time away from the podcast and giving myself permission to focus solely on self-discovery and the Summer course was a difficult choice but the right one.
Now, as we transition into Leo season from July 22 - August 22, there’s an opportunity to take what’s been recalibrated and give it life. This time of year has always been my least favorite because the heat causes me to wilt and feel dehydrated, literally and figuratively. This time around, I’m wise to this dynamic and have been studying how the plants and animals manage their needs during the height of Summer when the Sun is so intense and the heat can feel like too much.
The Summer is both a time of serious deliberation and lighthearted abandon. On one hand, the plants are being very judicious about how much energy they exert because water is scarce. Similarly, animals are active in the mornings and evenings when it’s coolest but spend the rest of the day sleeping, swimming, or just sitting in the shade. We all know not to mess around with over-exertion and heat exhaustion, but where this has always caused me to feel stress, the plants and animals seem to use it as a cue to just enjoy life a little more.
What causes so much suffering in the Summer isn’t just the fact that it’s hot, it’s that we resist the heat and live our lives as if nothing ever changes. It’s the same dynamic in the Winter season - we maintain a level of busyness and activity that simply misaligns with what the natural world is inviting us to do. We do this because we work and live in a system that is always going, no matter what time of year it is or what’s healthy for our bodies.
In Leo season, we’re invited to widen the rivers of gratitude and appreciation for what’s already working in our lives. We’re emboldened to tap into our strengths and discontinue our incessant worry about what we’re not good at, what we don’t have, or how we don’t measure up. To stay in these mental loops is like a plant using water it doesn’t have to re-flower or grow new shoots. It’s a waste of resources and puts us at serious risk of burnout. Now is not a time to mess around with the things we don’t enjoy doing. The distractions, the focus on our weaknesses, and the negative self-talk are all things that drain us and are a misuse of our precious resources.
Personally, this reminder to focus on my strengths has felt empowering and has clarified where my energy is most useful. I’ve spent enough time laboring and toiling over the aspects of my life that I thought I “should” pay attention to, and in Leo season, I’m choosing to focus on nurturing my strengths and the fruits that are already ripening in my life. Specifically, this will look like handing over the @awildnewwork Instagram account to my friend and A Wild New School co-founder Megan Miller, who is much more gifted in that realm than I am. It will also mean working less in the traditional sense but actually just valuing my labor in other areas as much as I value the work I do in my business.
This is a topic I’d like to explore in more detail on the podcast or in a future blog post, because my sense is that it would be helpful to many others as well. When capitalism was being developed in the 15th - 17th centuries, a key component for its success was the denigration and covering up of all forms of work that weren’t economically productive. “Women’s work,” such as child bearing, child rearing, home-making, community building, and anything else that couldn’t be industrialized was viewed as having no value. It was made invisible and deemed worthless, and male wage labor was made the pinnacle of productivity. To learn more about this, I encourage you to check out Silvia Federici’s book, Caliban and the Witch.
We’ve all inherited this backwards system, and I’ve internalized the belief that the only thing I do that’s truly valuable is work that earns money. But the truth is that my Work (capital ‘W’) extends beyond my business into every area of my life. The Work I do to raise a healthy child, heal ancestral wounds, cook good food, support loved ones, and much more, is just as valuable as anything I could be paid for. And that’s true for each of you as well. Our society deems your income-generating activities as the most important piece of your identity, but that’s simply one perspective. This Summer, I hope each of us can learn to appreciate ourselves as contributors of value in ways far beyond economics. If we do, my sense is that we’ll be much more able to relax and surrender into the heat of Summer, making this a deeply nourishing and playful season that sets us up for greater abundance in the Fall.
As we venture into the apex of the Summer season, I hope you’ll join me for new podcast episodes every two weeks starting in August, come to a Rewilding Work walk, connect in my email community, or follow the new @awildnewschool account on Instagram. My Work is to help usher in a new paradigm for career development and seasonal living that supports your connection to Self and Nature, and I’m still so honored to serve you in these ways. Take good care, and thank you for sharing in this update with me.