Personal Life Cycles, the Seasons of Being

The June DwD was the evening before Summer Solstice, and Peter presented a personal foresight practice one of his close friends and teachers, the masterful life coach Toni Stone, who died three years ago in August. Toni was a New England sage who developed a lifetime body of work on personal and spiritual prosperity, and lived her productive years on the top of a small mountain in Fairfax, Vermont. She was a business and life coach for my life choices, and I valued her wisdom and voice in my life. While her Wonderworks website might look new-agey, Toni was an astonishing coach with keen insight, a systems thinker who had faith in positive futures, and a sometime terrifying prophet.

The workshop was based on Toni’s Seasons of Prosperity workbook that embodies a generative philosophy based on personal seasons. One of her most profound ideas was a foundation for tracing personal seasons over a 9-year cycle. The DwD workshop was a short session to share the insight about this process, to see whether we might learn and enhance it from a strategic foresight perspective, and honestly, from a commitment to not lose Toni’s legacy in this significant piece of her coaching process. The DwD sessions is an informal (e.g. not a teaching class) for others to learn about the seasons frame, to workshop it together, and see what new opportunities might emerge for ourselves and the Seasons methodology.

The Seasons process can be very helpful for personal foresight guidance, not as a basis of advice, but of creative constraints that provide context for life decisions. In particular, the Seasons framework helps in the choices we make in the face of complexity that have long-term consequences in the hazardous moment.

By hazardous moment, I refer to JG Bennett: “Without hazard, there is no opportunity at all. If we do something without risk, the outcome is determined and therefore, there is no opportunity.” The philosopher Bennett believed that the distinction of intelligence was the “adaptation to hazard.”

If we look at our own lives as a series of choices in the face of risks and opportunities, certain patterns of choice-making and personal learning and development become visible. The Seasons approach may not be universal, that is, not everyone may find their lifecycles enfold in 9-year cycles with growth and retraction periods. But it has worked for me, and many others as a way of being with life changes and to shape an empowered mindset toward the opportunities that emerge in our own lifecourse that we may well choose, or choose not, in accord with our own seasonality.