I'm an American expat, writer. photographer. and old-fashioned romantic in love with celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I appreciate timelessness, the natural world, and a slow life lived with simplicity and intention. When I'm not photographing families or  slowly traveling the world and writing about it in a little notebook, I'm happily grounding myself in nature and cozying up with my sweet husband.

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Nature is constantly showing us how to live our lives and flow with the seasons, cycles and rhythms of our daily existence. The natural world shows us how we can be courageous, how to let go, how to rest and how to start anew. 

Take Fall for instance: it comes every year and encourages the trees to loosen their grip, to release their old weight, and to shed what is no longer necessary. The trees allow what was once so full of vibrancy and life to fall, leaf by leaf!

In the winter, it feels like life will never spring forth again. It feels like buds won’t sprout, flowers won’t bloom. And in the colder months, the branches are bare and the sky dark.

But naturally, spring comes. And when it does, new shoots slowly begin to appear little by little and there is a newness that was never there before. This newness is fresh, bold and alive! The flowers bloom courageously, and they are even more glorious than they were before!

Our lives are so closely linked to nature

A few days ago, I was walking through the forest near my small Alsatian village outside of Strasbourg, France and I stood underneath the cherry blossom tree. Just the day prior, it was at its peak bloom with the most colorful and vibrant cherry blossoms. Like bright pink carnations, they were healthy and strong and shining their light – sharing bravely for all those who pass by it to admire its beauty. But the next day, as I stood underneath its blossoms, I noticed the flowers were dying. Bits of brown began to appear around the edges, and they drooped sadly in bunches, the vibrant green leaves attempting to resume their mighty place.

At first, I was sad to see the cherry blossoms disappear as quickly as they had arrived. But I realized how closely this small scene resembled life…and the seasons of our time here on Earth.

Just as something new, beautiful and strong appears to take center stage, we must make room for the next bloom to take its place. Our lives are so closely linked to those in nature. Just as we are born and develop into our full bloom, we must also remember to rest, reflect and quietly make space for another to shine. 

As Spring is now here, I thought it would be important to share my thoughts on why it’s so important to mark and flow with the seasons. We should always take the time to slow down, reflect and mark the changing of the seasons by celebrating the memories we made, letting go of what no longer serves us and anticipating the impending arrival of a brand new season. 

Here is how you can naturally mark your life and flow with the seasons:

1. Clear Up All Unfinished Business

I recently wrote a post about how to spring clean your heart, and why it’s so important to forgive, make amends, and clear out your energy at the end of the season before beginning a new one. Every season, I go through my life to declutter and shed any excess that no longer deserves space in my life. That often means clearing out possessions, connecting with a friend or family member we haven’t communicated with in a while, forgiving people and doing cord-cutting ceremonies – I write about this here – , unfollowing Instagram accounts that no longer serve us for the highest good of our spirits, etc. Before we can start anew and exist loudly and vibrantly in our peak bloom, we have to clean up our homes – our hearts. 

spring clean your heavy heart with simple joys blogger Helena Woods

2. Pay Attention to Those Nudges Within You

You’ll know deep down when it is time to usher in a new season of your life. In order to flow with the seasons and mark your life shifts, you must look within yourself first. Wait for any gut feelings from your heart (chest area) or gut (stomach area), and when you feel a knowingness sense of “it’s time”, go full speed ahead! To properly flow with the seasons, make sure to also usher in the new season when the weather shifts, not when the month begins. Spring technically begins March 20th, but I often don’t feel a pulling in my chest or stomach to start a new beginning until the first week or two of April. And even that changes every season, depending on where I am at mentally! Notice what works for you and flow with the seasons on your own time. 

3. Dig Deep and Ask

Before you begin a new chapter, ask yourself what really matters to you in this time, right now? Our priorities will shift each season. What I was doing four months ago is not what I’m placing my focus and priorities on now, just as what my attention and focus is on now won’t be there a few months from now. What really matters to you? Life is fleeting, and it’s important to ask ourselves what our deepest wants and desires are. 

Ask yourself the following questions and remember to direct the question down to your stomach or chest. 

What feels like the most fun thing I can do in this moment? 

What is the Universe flowing to me in the present moment?

Now is the perfect to _______.

What feels like the path of least resistance? (a feeling of “Ahh…..”)

 

4. Slow Down and Connect with the Seasons 

Once you know what is best for you in this new season, change your wardrobe to your seasonal wardrobe, pull out the cozy blankets and change out the flowers you usually have displayed in your home! Maybe instead of hot chocolate or tea, you can enjoy a cool, refreshing drink instead. Instead of socializing with friends in the living room for game nights, opt for the patio! Instead of meeting at your house or a restaurant for lunch, opt for a picnic at the local park or meadow! Keep the spirit of the season in mind.

When we slow down and live thoughtfully and intentionally, flowing with the seasons in our lives can be rather delightful because we choose to savor every precious moment of that season. Soak up all the seasonal offerings you have now. In this present moment! Allow those changes and adjustments to permeate everything around you. This is what it means to embrace the seasons, to embrace life to its fullest! By flowing with the seasons naturally, we feel connected to the Earth, time and our ancestors.

5. Find a Ritual or Tradition to Mark Your Season

Often it can feel like time passes us quickly, that it slips between our fingertips and we find ourselves asking “where did the time go?!” When we live a slower, more connected life, our days seem longer, our years become fuller and deeper. Flowing with the seasons becomes more fun! A simple way to mark your seasons is to allow for a tradition or a ritual to do every year with each new season. Not only is it a more exciting way to enjoy the passage of time, but it allows for some closure within us. Maybe you write a letter or light a candle or enjoy a walk along the beach or forest and reminisce on the things you were grateful and appreciative of in that particular season. These rituals help you feel as if you’ve truly said hello and goodbye to the time in your life. Celebrate it! 

So today my friends I encourage you to mark the seasons in your life, enjoy the simple rituals, celebrate closure, and naturally flow with the seasons. Allow yourself to fully enjoy what this season has to offer – not last season and not the season coming up! – and celebrate this chapter fully. 

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Subscribe to the Simple Joys on Youtube!

I share videos on light-working, anti-productivity, positivity, slow living, mindfulness, and gratitude on the Simple Joys youtube channel every Thursday! My goal is to inspire and uplift others to finding the simple joys in their day-to-day. I enjoy creating wholesome content on how you can integrate a more simple, natural and slow lifestyle. By slowing down, grounding ourselves and finding the appreciation in the simplicity of the moment, it is far easier to be more engaged and connected to life! We can just “be.” I love to explore topics such as values, mindfulness and intention-setting. 

In the busyness of our ambitious modern world, it is my hope to connect others who may also feel more at peace with a slower and simpler life. 

Subscribe here!

 

Photo Journal: Helsinki, Finland

a few photographs from my time in Finland in February 2020.

    

   

Memories from My Time in Helsinki, Finland 

I made many friends while in Finland – 3 of which I met by hitchhiking and sticking my thumb out on the snow-covered roads (much to my husband’s dismay lol), others – like this jolly pup and his mom – in the park and Kim, the man photographed, I smiled and started chitchatting with on the plane to Helsinki. ⁣⁣Kim is bright, cheerful, warm and extremely chatty, so we got along great and talked the whole plane ride to Finland. ⁣⁣We got along so well, he ended up showing us to our Airbnb from the airport and we spent a full day with him in Helsinki a week later! ⁣⁣He generously offered to drive us around the local nature spots in Helsinki – most of which we wouldn’t have been able to see without a car. ⁣⁣⁣⁣

How to Embrace Your Life and Flow with the Seasons

May 1, 2020

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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical, emotionally honest family and children's portraiture. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I photograph families across the world. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.

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