Harvest—Closing Life’s Cycles

I am not a farmer, although I grew up among farmers and worked on farms in my childhood and youth in Ontario. At harvest time, my mind inevitably turns to ‘cycles.’ Life is full of cycles, and harvest is the closing of one of them.

The harvest cycle begins with an intention, the intention to grow a crop, and it ends with the actual harvest. In between there was soil preparation, seeding, watering, weeding, etc. Seeing the cycle through to completion took work, a lot of patience and simply ‘allowing’. Completing or closing cycles is of fundamental psychological and spiritual importance.

Psychologically, keeping a cycle open requires our personal energy. How the cycle will end is not a sure thing. Crops do fail sometimes. There may be worry. There is certainly a consciousness about the open cycle. And that consciousness persists until the harvest is in. Then when the cycle is completed (closed), your emotional energy is freed for other things.

Spiritually, keeping a cycle open requires trust that the universe will deliver what you can’t control. Then at the end of the harvest you celebrate and give thanks. There is even a special day we call Thanksgiving Day.

In sum, the harvest cycle begins with an intention and ends with getting the crop in. The harvest was the final hurdle that had to be overcome to fulfill the original intention. A lot of emotional and spiritual energy is vested in seeing such a major cycle through to completion.

However, there is something even more profound happening as you complete a cycle. The principal byproduct of fulfilling an intention is happiness. You celebrate because you are happy. On the other hand, overwhelm results from keeping too many cycles open.

Think about it: happiness emerges as if by magic as you overcome successive barriers to your intentions. Between the intention to produce a food crop and the final harvest, each barrier to overcome provides an opportunity for happiness.

In thinking about harvests and cycles I realize I’m in the midst of closing a major cycle, a Part B of an even bigger cycle. A number of years ago I saw a need and formed an intention to do something about it. Women had been coming to me for help with a very difficult problem: they were in marriages with men who abuse alcohol or drugs. They were experiencing abuse or, at the very least, neglect. They were in pain and were bewildered about their lives.

When I discovered that there is abundant self-help information available for alcoholics and drug addicts, but little for their partners, I decided to write a book aimed directly at the women who live with alcoholic men.

I closed that cycle when I published a book, that has been selling on Amazon and on my website for a couple of years now. Then, a year or so ago another cycle opened as Kindle and other electronic readers were growing in popularity: I pondered publishing a Kindle edition. There have been challenges, but each challenge I pushed through left me feeling exhilarated. I’m working to complete that cycle by having my book published on Kindle, Nook and other readers by the time you read this.

I invite you to look at your own life through the lens of cycles. Recall times when you have felt overwhelmed. Was your energy being sapped by having too many open cycles and not enough harvests? Are there some open cycles you could close? Now recall the times when you have been the happiest and most grateful. Were you completing a lot of cycles? Were you harvesting?

Dr. Neill Neill is a registered psychologist in Qualicum Beach. He helps capable people who feel stuck… trauma, relationships, addictions.