Turn, Turn, Turn
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:I've always loved this passage from Ecclesiastes. I know by heart the obvious lines--"a time to be born, and a time to die"; "a time to weep, and a time to laugh"; "a time of war, and a time of peace". I recently looked up the full text and was struck by a couple of things.
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.
First, while I've always known it as a study in contrasts, I didn't realize how truly merciless many of the seasons are. "A time to cast away stones" sounds lovely, right? I can get behind that. Who needs stones anyway? Death, killing, hate, and war, however, are terribly hard to countenance as legitimate purposes under heaven.
The other thing I noticed is that while each line contains a duality, the verse does not uniformly put the "positive" seasons on one side and the "negative" seasons on the other. In certain cases, it's impossible to tell whether a season is positive or negative--surely speaking and silence, rending and sewing could go either way. The verse won't do the work for us. We're free to decide for ourselves what season we abide in, and lord knows that freedom can be delightful or tortuous.
A year-long cycle comes to an end for me tomorrow. February 12th marks the one year anniversary of stepping out on my own, ending my affiliation with any particular yoga style or community. The transition was initially a painful one. I felt like a part of myself died. During this time I plucked up and killed what I had planted. I broke down, I wept, I mourned. I refrained from embracing. I lost many things, even cast them away. I rent the fabric of my life. I spoke, a lot. I hated, and I waged war.
To every thing there is a season, and seasons turn. All along last year's path of destruction, there were signs of the coming spring. I adopted and fell in love with a rescue dog, and every day she makes me dance, laugh, and snuggle. I shifted my focus from maintaining an international network of yogins to planting, gathering stones, and building in my local community. It's a time of receiving, keeping, and yes, sewing--we need new curtains at the studio. There's a time for every purpose under heaven; how wondrous to enter a season of joy.
Here's a picture of my dog, Frances. Isn't she the sweetest?