Let's start with a short recap per season. To describe the growth cycle in tune with the seasons. To see how that theory maps out. ## Winter From Winter Solstice (21-12-22) to Spring Equinox (21-03-23) Winter is when the animals pull back and survive on the harvested food from autumn. Taking a rest, restoring and gathering strength so that we can get back at again in spring. The end of this season is also to plant seeds for things you want to cultivate over the coming year. For us this means it's the perfect time to dial things down a notch. Enjoy what we even learned from the past year, process the new ideas and insights and form new plans for the coming growth cycle. ### My Experience The past year, this season meant for me the start of my freelancing career and the newsletter. For which I had no clue what it actually had to turn into. I was hellbent on joining an intentional community and wanted to create space for the other parts of my life to form around that. I planted the seeds for that by taking action on quitting my job, starting the newsletter to document the transition and hoping that we would be accepted into the intentional community in Barcelona. Quitting my job and going all in on this community dream was my way to show life how serious I was about this step. But life didn't return the favour in that way. Calgary was our first serious attempt to join an intentional community. Barcelona the second, but it quickly turned out that it wasn't supposed to happen. Which got us back at square one again. In a third attempt to find the right place we visited Damanhur in the beautiful Italian valley of Valchiusella. We didn't find our community there. Instead, we found ourselves, me and Chiara, to be engaged after visiting this special place. ## Spring From Spring Equinox (21-03-23) to Summer Solstice (21-06-23) In spring the first seeds start to sprout. Some seeds make it to see the light of day, others don't. It is also the right moment preemptively remove the weeds you don't want to take up valuable light and soil nutrients. This is a good way to also view your intentions and plans you started the year with. Ask yourself these questions after a couple of months: What is working? What do I need to change? And what should I maybe discard entirely? There are all kind of events that can have an influence on this. Some within your power, others outside. ### My Experience Quite early in Spring we had to suffer the devastating loss of my father. An event of such magnitude puts things back in perspective of what's important in life. Which had a big influence on some life choices later in the year. Over the months that followed focus shifted towards dealing with the aftermath of our great loss. Having just started with freelancing allowed for a lot of flexibility in time. Which made dealing with all of it much more convenient. It also allowed for a third serious attempt to establish an intentional community. This time not far away abroad, but back to the roots in Lage Mierde. In one way it looked like a serious opportunity worth investigating. In another it was my way of coping with a traumatic experience, trying to make the best out of the cards being dealt. It was this event that caused the separation of the strong seeds from the weak. And taking out the unwanted weeds. Some of the new plans and habits from the start of the year survived and many didn't. It also allowed me to momentarily halt old activities that didn't fit any longer with the new path I was taking. Making way for new things to grow. Another big influence on certain life choices this year were the many wonderful weddings we had the honour to experience. Of which most happened during spring. Strengthening bonds with friends and creating many amazing memories. ## Summer From Summer Solstice (21-06-23) to Fall Equinox (21-09-23). The warmest season of the year has all plants in full blossom. Representing a garden in full strength, in the middle of the growth cycle. If well prepared and maintained from the outset. The weak plans and old activities that don't suit with the current trajectory are stripped away and we can move full steam ahead. With a well-deserved break at the height of the warmth, to catch our breath and gain new inspiration. ### My Experience The summer was mainly about dealing with the estate in Lage Mierde and researching the possibility of starting an intentional community. Eventually, it didn't turn out to be feasible and the third community attempt ended up dead as well. Another plan had failed and we were running out of options and time. We did end up with a pleasant core group of interested people. In the conversations we had together, we got to terms with the situation not working the way we wanted. It helped to understand that life has to move on. That we can't put everything on pause until this got sorted out. Settling in an intentional community was clearly not supposed to happen at this point. Closing that chapter for now opened mental space for other things. Like planning a sabbatical and our wedding. Leaving the living situation for what it is and just see how things are when we need extra space for family expansions. The summer months gave me time to gain clarity on where I wanted to take things with the side hustle. After shelving the community plans, and finishing up most of the work in Lage Mierde, more time for the new things opened up. So with that new clarity and time I was ready to go to work. Especially around the autumn equinox things started to fall in place for what I wanted this project to become. ## Autumn From Fall Equinox (21-09-23) to Winter Solstice (21-12-23). The fruits of our labor are paying of around the end of summer and beginning of fall. It is time for one last season of hard work to make sure the harvest is stored well and everything is ready for the winter. ### My Experience For me this was the most productive season of the year, by a mile. With the ability to fully focus on my own affairs. And participating, plus hosting, several programs with other people, resulted in an exponential learning curve. Through the 30 day writing course I developed a very effective daily writing habit. I started the year with writing on a weekly basis, which already showed to be a game changer. But increasing the effort to a daily basis took things even further. It got me to experience how writing is an ideal way to develop a relationship with your inner self, with Source. And by engaging so intimately with Source daily, you multiply the potential to let itself express through you. Which touched everything I was working on; the coaching program pilot, the book, the travel vlog. All these initiatives really took of. Taking action on them taught me heaps about what works for me and what doesn't. To make decisions on how I want to continue the coming year. The seeds planted at the start of the year had to intention to learn what I wanted to do with this next step in life. It worked out wonderfully, but in ways that I would've never expected. Having started with an entirely different plan from the one I ended up with. ## Aligning With The Flow Of Life It perfectly exemplifies that the things we think we want in our lives to be, often are not the ones that Source has in mind for us. You see, there's something like free will and divine will. With divine will is the flow of life, in which you're a part of the entire clockwork, and free will the option to align yourself with it or not. With this public journalling experiment I believe to have found a way to figure out how one can align itself with that flow of life. How one can figure out how Source is supposed to express itself through them. Basically how to develop a relationship with that deeper core of ourselves that is connected to everything. Which is exactly the skill that I want to inspire others to develop. I know exactly how I want to make that happen through the things I'm currently building. And next year will be about finishing those things. This year I've learned what this online side hustle has to become. But just now at the very end, with the Winter Solstice, I've learned how to go about it in combination with the other things I want out of life. Which is exactly what next week's journal will be about. So stay tuned. And take care, Ben