We are in the mid-fall season. I can’t help but notice the changes in nature all around me – a mix of red, yellow, and brown fallen leaves in my backyard, the swinging of branches back and forth, at times even frost in the grass, and flocks of birds flying above, probably migrating to a warmer place. And let’s not forget the drop in temperature, currently 6 degrees Celsius as I write this. While all of these changes may be obvious, and may I also point out – beautiful – there are some very subtle ones also occurring in our minds.
There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been! – Percey Bysshe Shelley
Have you ever wondered why we become more in tune with nature around this time, and more in tune with ourselves? If you thought that it is because the fall is the most spiritual season, then you are absolutely right. Many ancient cultures including Egypt, Mexico, and Peru built their monuments aligned with the autumn equinox, to serve as a reminder to delve into one’s darkness.
We all have light and darkness that accumulate inside of us. This is a time of year to cut out the darkness. It may be in the form of reflecting on relationships and determining which ones should be ended, or reflecting on the lifestyle and making positive decisions, or simply eliminating bad habits. Whatever darkness fills you, whether small or big, now is the time to let it go and enjoy the peace that is all around you.
So how do you do this?
As nature withers around us, the awareness of ourselves and inner feelings, is heightened. I cannot stress enough the importance of finding time for yourself. Everyone needs a time and place (a personal oasis) for reflection in order to promote personal growth and ultimately live a more meaningful life. If you haven’t already found your oasis, I beg you to start thinking about it. It can be in the form of a nook, a library, a bathtub, a garden, a favourite armchair. Find your personal oasis and take 15 minutes to reflect on what is going on in your life:
- Determine how you are feeling. Pay attention to negative emotions. Are you sad? Disappointed? Afraid? Upset? Bored? Lonely? In pain?
- Determine why you feel the way you do. What particular events or situations led you to this feeling? Who is involved? Have you looked at this issue from all points of view?
- Determine if anything identified above can be modified or eliminated. Are you ready for a change? Can you confront your fear? Can you confront the person making you feel the way you do? Can you end the relationship?
- Determine how you plan on changing your feeling. What specific actions will you take? Do you need anyone’s help? What will be the deadline? How will you ensure success?
- Repeat. Don’t wait until fall to begin this process. Establish a schedule for reflection time. Will it be every day for 5 minutes or every Sunday for 30 minutes or every other day? Routine is key.
Whether you’re still finding your personal oasis or you’ve already started the process of removing the darkness inside, you might as well take some time to enjoy the changing season. Autumn keeping you gloom and unwilling? Step outside for fresh air, even if it is for 5 minutes, you will be surprised how much more alive you will feel. Feel the wind on your face and through your hair, listen to the sound of leaves on wind, marvel at the array of colours and how amazing it is to be part of this nature! Better yet, take someone along with you to share the good moments.
I dare you to kick the fallen leaves as when you were a kid. The urge to do so was irresistible in the backstreet pictured above and I cannot describe in words how great it felt.
I will leave you with a quote that speaks a lot to all of us. No matter how gray the day may seem or how poorly we may feel, we can make a choice as to how that will affect us. What do you choose?
My sorrow, when she’s here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane. – Robert Frost