Looking for your true identity? Holding back on what you truly desire? Summer is the ideal time to step into the fire of your personal power, says Nicola Chantler…
Like the seasons of the year, the chapters of our lives offer new, exciting and challenging opportunities. A shock redundancy at work might pave the way for an enriching new career. Leaving a relationship that’s run its course might awaken a long-forgotten part of your true self. Committing to small, daily habits can create huge improvements in your mindset and feelings of self-worth.
Each step on our unique journey invites us to pause, consider and evolve. And as we edge into the transformational season of summer, a further invitation awaits: if we could shed a layer of ourselves into the fire, how would we like to emerge?
Many of us feel newly optimistic in the summer, thanks to warmer temperatures and increased hours of daylight. We might escape on a relaxing, sun-kissed holiday; rise early to make the most of quiet morning light; or relax into a slower, more joyful pace of life.
Emboldened by the sun, we find that summer highlights both the natural world and parts of ourselves hidden during winter hibernation. If spring is the season to plant the seeds of what we want, summer is the time to harvest.
This seasonal uplift is far more than a placebo. Summer is a time of energetic inner change. Associated with the fire element, or ‘agni’, it ignites our passions. This arises from our interconnectedness with the natural world: the sun’s power stimulates the body’s internal rhythms. This empowers us to feel more connected with our endeavours and gives us impetus to progress.
Fire has the power to change and transform. So do we. We feel more confident about letting go of what no longer serves us. We move forward. We might experiment with a new hobby, ask for a promotion at work, or consider a house move. The energetic shift of summer means we see our path more clearly and feel more confident about walking along it.
In late 2014, made redundant from my job as an editor, I experienced a deep identity crisis. At home with a new baby and no job, I felt a sudden and complete loss of self. Having spent most of my adult life focused on my career goals, I had lost direction. And with a new baby to care for and the cold and gloom of winter pressing in, I felt confined indoors.
But nine months later, buoyed by my growing confidence as a mother and the hours we spent playing outside, I began to retreat from my depression. Summer’s glow gave me a lift to gather up the pieces of who I was and decipher what I truly wanted.
And it wasn’t to pick up where I’d left off. Embracing the simple joys of life with my daughter, such as walks in the park and time digging in the garden, inspired me to retrain as a yoga and mindfulness teacher.
The sun expands and peaks at the solstice, the longest day of the year. And at that peak, we can use the time to reflect, choose how we want to move forward and put dreams into motion. ‘It’s a great time to start a new routine, or feel more ready to step into confidence,’ explains somatic transformational coach Katy Murray. ‘Better weather brings us outdoors more. Nature is a natural balancer of the nervous system, [so] we feel more at ease and able to expand.’
Whether we’re looking to make big or small life changes, or simply pause and take stock of the nourishment we need, it’s the season to step into our most authentic self. ‘Recognise that the demands on us change,’ suggests Murray, ‘and, with that, often our identity will too.
‘Check in with yourself regularly: what do you love about your life? What’s not working and might be changed?’
For many of us, making changes that affect our identity can spark imposter syndrome, or limit our self-belief. However, when we consider the role the seasons play with our ever-evolving self, we can better honour what we are ready for and open to.
‘Negative self-talk comes from a protective place, but it’s possible to rewire the brain,’ Murray explains. ‘Feel it in your body and your nervous system will learn it too. Take small steps towards embracing yourself every day and it will start to stick.’