The space between seasons

by | May 23, 2018 | Seasons Newsletter | 20 comments

The song of the tui had changed. As I walked up the steps to my bach, I took time to pause and listen. No chortles, gurgles or rasps. The tui were singing a clear song, just two notes, one long and one short, with a rising inflection.

This was new. I’d never noticed this song change before.

What was making them so happy? I wondered. Was it that they were replete after the berry season, and so much feasting?



Late autumn and the transition into winter is bringing me contentment too. I keep thinking, ‘I am in Haratua’.

What do I mean by that? I’m thinking of the Maori lunar month of Haratua, which approximates to May. Haratua marks the time when the hard work of harvest is over.


Haratua precedes the start of a new cycle, the new year of Matariki, and it marks a pause between the two. In fact, this twelfth lunar month was sometimes dropped altogether from the Maori calendar.

What does it take to pause?

How do you mark the time after your inner harvest, the completion of a project or a time of hard work? Do you take time to pause and reflect, or are you impatient to get on to the next thing?

It takes discipline and acceptance to pause.


Sometimes we can’t get it right.

After the hard labour of publishing my last book, I began the next one a little too soon. Usually I would wait for the underground spring to fill, and take a good pause between books. But external factors meant I needed to begin the new book at the start of the year.

Now, as the project is finding its own rhythm, it’s a relief and a pleasure to slow down and relax into the spaces between things; to stop on the steps and breathe in a mysterious fragrance that spreads through the air from an unseen tree. To gather nikau seeds on a bush walk. And to listen to the song of the tui.


The value of the space between.

The space between activities is an optimal time, and one that can easily be missed if you are always busy. As the Zen philosophers say, this emptiness is pregnant with possibility.

What new seeds might be planted now? What new directions might be calling, if you only know how to stop and listen beneath the layers of distraction and the tasks of everyday life?

I listened, and felt the call to pick up a pen and write reflectively in a small notebook. Then I heard another call, to begin drawing again. And so I returned to keeping a visual diary, choosing one memorable moment from each day and making an image for it.

I realised these manual practices, away from the computer, were calling me back into mindfulness.

I gave myself a pause from writing this newsletter. I took retreats in nature. I removed all pressure and waited until the spring began to bubble up from the silence once more.

Haratua and you

I have been in Haratua, the season of rest.

Even if you are in the northern hemisphere seasonal cycle, know that your Haratua, the space between, can be taken at any time after you have completed a period of fruitfulness. So these questions are for you too:

✪ Do you allow yourself to rest after harvest?
✪ Do you have a way of marking a pause before beginning something new?
✪ How do you take a small season of rest?
See if you can make a shift from Doing to Being, and see what happens.
Blessings to you in the spaces between,


Kua uru nga kai ki te rua, hua mutu nga mahi a te tangata

Crops are stored in pits; labours are over.


For more about Haratua, go to Chapter 4 of my book Dancing with the Seasons.

To receive the Seasons Newsletter, you may sign up on the home page of this website and receive a free audio meditation.


  1. Chris johannis

    Hi Juliet, thank you so much for the lovely reminder of pausing and appreciating the spaces in between.

    • Juliet Batten

      Thank you Chris, I’m glad you like it.

  2. margo crick

    Thanks ,gratitude Juliet,it is always good to hear from you.I have so enjoyed and been inspired by your wisdom from way back!
    “Celebrating the Southern Seasons”, in its original form was a treasure of mine as I began to connect more deeply with the beautiful seasons of Aotearoa in my own life and nature all around me.It is wonderful how the strands of life interweave if I maintain my calm place!
    I opened your Autumn newsletter and found your message for me .”The space between”. Perfect as I enjoy the Autumn glory,feel the mellow peace after the heat of Summer. I love the opportunity to reflect quietly .feeling a calm bridge between the seasons to see the beauty and interconnection of everything if I give myself the space.
    I have been learning more about the 7 sacred Rays of the cosmos and see the 4th Ray as that great opportunity to pause in that calm place on the bridge between and see the beauty.
    Many thanks , I am enjoying Dancing with the Seasons again and making little Autumn mandalas from the garden.
    Love Margo

    • Juliet Batten

      Margo, thank you for your beautiful words. I love the thought of ‘a calm bridge between the seasons’. I’m so glad you have been enjoying my books. It’s kind of you to let me know. I like to think of you making little autumn mandalas in your garden.

  3. Penny O'Neill

    Years ago, I gave Tom a small book for a gift. It’s title was The Pause. I came across it not too long ago and smiled. Then, I sat down and read this very simple book and simple paused. My resting is most often done with a walk in nature, though this evening I went out in my car for a short ride and pulled aside when I saw about 10 egrets resting in a wetland. They were so still – and so was I. Thank you, Juliet. A reflective and calming post.

    • Juliet Batten

      Penny, how lovely to hear of the ‘Pause’ gift! and what a surprise to discover the egrets. I love them; so dignified, pure and still. Thank you, and I’m glad you found the post reflective and calming.

  4. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet – yes we all need pauses and our own space to ‘rejuvinate’ briefly before we get going again. So glad you’re back in your rhythm … take care – cheers Hilary

    • Juliet Batten

      Thank you Hilary, it’s always good to come back into rhythm.

  5. Jenni Clearwater

    Thank you for your gentle guidance Juliet. I was able to have a delicious pause at a Mother’s Day Retreat weekend at Mana Retreat…. I came home refreshed and energised.

    • Juliet Batten

      How wonderful Jenni. Mana is such a special place. I’m so glad you were able to refresh and energise yourself there. Thank you.

  6. valerie davies

    This was a lovely reflective post, Juliet, and also much food for thought…

    • Juliet Batten

      Valerie, you found me! I’m so glad; it’s lovely to hear from you and thank you for your kind comment.

  7. minnie biggs

    lovely dear Juliet, especially the pausing, one of the most valuable practices,so subtle, so packed with abundance, each pause.And possibility. And nothingness.

    • Juliet Batten

      What beautiful words Minnie.’Subtle and packed with abundance.’ Thank you!

  8. Denise Poyner

    Thank you Juliet. Your message is very timely. I have been very busy in May, and have a very occupied Queen’s Birthday weekend ahead of me. Once this weekend is past, I will take some time to look at the remainder of June to block some weekend days out for a day at home and to have some rest.

    Sometimes I can grab a little bit of time in the evening by not using my computer. Things are not so urgent. Much of it can wait until tomorrow to be read.

    The birds are really cheerful at the moment. I hadn’t noticed that before. There are many more song thrushes around. Their song is beautiful. Taking time to pause has earned me a sighting of a juvenile fantail, and a quick glance at the local river earned me a sighting of 2 Royal spoonbill feeding in the river. It’s so refreshing to see nature at its best.

    It’s lovely to hear from you. I wish you a restful winter.

    • Juliet Batten

      What a delight to have so many cheerful birds around you, Denise. Thank you, and I wish you restfulness too.

  9. Christine La Roche

    Hi Juliet
    Lovely to read your newsletter and learn about Haratua.
    I read it out to Jill.
    The days are getting shorter. A great time for reading, relaxing and reflecting

    • Juliet Batten

      Thank you Christine, it’s lovely to know that you shared it.

  10. Cecily Sheehy

    Thanks so much Juliet, and blessings on your resting time.
    I can’t do that yet as I’m in the middle of transcribing as much as I can of the music (songs) I have written over the ages!
    But how lovely that will be when the task is completed. I will pause though, as you suggest, from time to time.

    • Juliet Batten

      Cecily, so you are still harvesting! and what a wonderful thing to be doing. Yes, pausing in the spaces between, even when they are small, is good. Thank you.


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