Notice how the ebbing and flowing of your breath is mirrored in a day of your life. As day flows into night and night flows into day … touched by the transition spaces of dawn and dusk. And see and feel how it is mirrored in the seasons of your life. As winter flows into summer and summer flows into winter … touched by the transition spaces of autumn and spring.
These are words from one of my favorite meditations, led by Jennifer Piercy. I listen to this meditation often as I fall asleep at night. Her description of spring and autumn as the transition spaces between winter and summer always resonates with me.
I am not a fan of winter, even though every year I try to be. There are moments when I think I hate it. I am always cold, and the cold makes my body tense and hurt. Thankfully, every winter does in fact flow into summer. And now once again we are in that transition space of spring.
As the temperature outside begins to warm up, I notice how my own body begins to relax and soften. The warmth feels good, and in my softening, I notice how I can take in the nourishment the warmer weather offers.
In my work with clients, I am often looking for “nourishment barriers”— strategies we use to protect ourselves from painful feelings, memories, or experiences, but that can also block us from getting what we long for the most. We often develop these barriers as children in response to our basic needs not being met by our early caregivers, and we then carry them into our primary relationships as adults. In cutting us off from certain kinds of experience, these barriers keep us living in the winter of life and relationships, and limit our ability to take in the nourishment of spring and summer.
Let me share an example:
When I was six years old, my mother lost a full-term baby days before the anticipated due date. As you can imagine, my parents were flooded with deep grief. Even at six years old, I was very aware of their pain, and I pushed my own grief aside because I didn’t want to be a burden. As a result, my six-year-old’s grief was never tended to. The belief I internalized at this young age was that my need for care is too much because everyone is dealing with their own pain. It was certainly not my parents’ intent, but at six years old I internalized the experience of being overlooked and forgotten, and the belief that my own needs would be a burden.
Fast forward to 2023, where I am 45 and in a relationship with a man I love. Connection with him feels like nourishment to my soul. It’s good and I long for it! However, there is an underlying fear that I am going to be overlooked or forgotten, that my needs are going to get swallowed up by all the stressors and challenges he is managing in his own life. Sometimes I'm not even consciously aware of this fear, yet it influences my interactions with him. I long for connection, but the beliefs and patterns I carry from early childhood block the very nourishment I long for in this relationship.
My own nourishment barriers have been a primary focus in my personal work this past winter. I often remind people that I originally got into this work because I needed it myself—and still do! My work with others has really come out of my own personal journey. There is a lot of good stuff happening in that journey, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the months to come, particularly my work with nourishment barriers, attachment wounds, Internal Family Systems (IFS) and DARe (Dynamic Attachment Re-patterning experience) – all of which are tools that are helping me step deeper into my own healing.
I’m grateful that you’ve joined me on this journey. And I’m sure you’ve experienced plenty of your own transitions through various seasons of life since I started posting on this blog. If you feel comfortable sharing, I’d love to hear about the seasons you have been passing through. Your story is important to me, and I really do read and reply to every email! Whatever seasons you’ve found yourself in, I want to offer hope that there is nourishment available there. Wishing you a happy spring from the inside and out. We’re in this together,