As I reflect on my summer, and on what the next 3 months will bring, I want to move through the last quarter of the year peacefully. There are changes that always come in the fall; although schedules get back to normal in September with all back in school it is quickly followed by holiday time and the schedule that gets even busier than normal. And yet autumn is my favorite time of year, by far. I enjoy the hope of spring, the relaxation of summer, the meditation and new beginnings of winter. But fall is when my heart and being are calmest, the feel of the season flows deeply in my being, and the smells, sounds, and sights are most meaningful and enjoyable to me. Fall is home, it’s family, it’s love. Spiritually it’s a time of balancing light and dark, letting go, and deeper understanding that nothing is permanent. Think about nature: we are moving to more balance between sun and darkness, the leaves are falling from the trees, and we learn that even what we enjoy in the summer flowers and play must end as we move forward.
As we face the changes in the season (granted, more slowly in Arizona), it’s a time to take stock. What are you holding onto that might be better let go of in your life? In speaking of letting go recently with someone I noted that we often think of it as a one-time action, like letting go of a balloon. While letting go is actually more of a process when it comes to the psychological and spiritual realms. When a loved one dies, for example, there are twists and turns in letting go of the person as they were here, and adjusting our life patterns accordingly. Or when we leave a career, it’s an action of walking out the door the last time, but we still must integrate into our lives the new career or job or retirement. There is more than the one moment in time.
What are you in the process of letting go of? How are you being asked to recognize the impermanence of something in life? Where is balance off in your life?
Here’s a simple journaling exercise to do around this topic:
Consider and write down your answers to the above questions. Or, if writing isn’t your thing, draw a picture to represent it.
Include in your writing, or picture, words and colors and shapes to represent how you feel about this change or loss.
Next, write or draw a picture to represent the ways in which this release might be beneficial to you.
Find an object to represent this change you are moving through, this period or experience or person or whatever it is that you must let go of in your life.
Finally, put this object in a meaningful place to remind you of the letting go you are in the process of. Let this encourage you to allow this to happen a moment at a time, a day at a time. It takes time for a leaf to fall, allow yourself time to let go of the leaf in your life.
I believe if we face this fall with such action, and using our spiritual resources to encourage and help us to take the steps needed in letting go, we will reach winter in December and be ready for the new beginnings of January. Don’t rush this fall. Inhale the pumpkin and cinnamon smells, enjoy the early morning or evening walks that are a little cooler, decorate a part of your home with fall leaves, pumpkins, or corn husks, and spend some time each day breathing in the depth and wisdom in the letting go. And as you do so, remember:
Autumn . . . makes a double demand.
It asks that we prepare for the future–that we be wise in the ways of garnering and keeping. But it also asks that we learn to let go–to acknowledge the beauty of sparseness.
by Bonaro Overstreet