I love Autumn! I love the change as we move from Summer into Autumn. The change from Autumn to Winter doesn’t seem to be quite so definitive does it, we just seem to slip quietly into the winter period almost recognising it with hindsight.
For me, we have the recognition as Autumn moves in of changing clothes over and popping summer things to the back of the wardrobe; putting the heating on or beginning to light the fire; cosying up as the evenings start to draw in; that sense of the darker mornings and darker starts to the evenings.
We notice the colours of the leaves turning to those beautiful autumnal oranges, reds and russets; branches showering leaves as they move back to their instrinsic sense of being.
They all lend themselves to that sense of drawing ourselves in – the freedom, spontaneity, the expansiveness of summer recedes and we spend more time in closer proximity with our-selves and those we love.
I was walking my dog this morning, noticing some already very bare trees and my attention was caught by some, now very visible, bird nests – no longer hidden by the wealth of leaves or foliage – and it made me wonder (for those nests that do still have birds in them) whether they have a sense of uncertainty or vulnerability about their home being visible, being naked, able to be seen by all.
Autumn has a similar effect on us doesn’t it? Perhaps not in showing our homes to everyone who passes and happens to look up – but the fact that we are somewhat restrained by weather, by darkness, by change of temperatures restricting our movements or our desire to socialise, all of this can cause us to have to spend more time with ourselves than we might be comfortable with.
It is easy to find an activity, something to do when the sun is shining, when the days are long and we can distract ourselves to our hearts content. The natural buoyancy of summer (when we have one of course!) with the sunshine, feel good factors of holidays, days out etc lifts our energy and our mood, enabling us to see the best in things, the best in us and to push to one side those things that don’t resonate so much as we move our attention to being out and about, enjoying the sun and that summer feeling.
With the change of seasons, and as a natural cycle of birth, death and rebirth, we tend to draw in. I am sure we can all appreciate that sense of looking out at it bucketing down on a dark, cold night and deciding we would rather stay in than venture out! And we do need that balance. Sometimes we have so much going on when the weather is good that we burn the figurative candle at both ends and whilst this is wonderful in one way, it doesn’t always allow us to connect within in the way that perhaps we should.
The trouble is that in the hecticness that is life today, in the busyness of our day we can get so used to doing that we lose track of being. And this can be brought home to us radically and often in challenging ways when we find ourselves spending more time with our-self as Autumn knocks on the door. Autumn – the energy of it, and the actual change in light, temperature – challenges us to go within, to seek out those aspects of our being that we are not comfortable with, to challenge who we are at our deepest level. Autumn gives us no choice but to look within, to confront who we think we are, who we think we want to be and who we actually are.
Depending on where we are in our life, in our development and acceptance of ourselves, we might find ourselves looking at the past year and the changes that it has wrought, a mini reflection of our-self at this moment in time, or we may find ourselves uncovering layer after layer of our illusory self. We might be like Inanna, stripping off the layers of ourselves as we head into the underworld of our consciousness to face the true essence of our being.
How can we resolve this challenge? How can we put off facing that which we do not want to? The question should be, should we put it off? Don’t we find, that by putting off what we know is calling, what we feel must done, we simply create a bigger monster, a greater sense of trepidation…
We resolve this challenge as we do all others – by looking in the mirror and facing it. We embrace the opportunity it brings to reveal aspects of our-self that were previously unknown. Yes, it may be difficult as we see and feel resonances of our being that we are uncomfortable with, where we are not as beautiful or kind or dynamic or exuberant as we would like to be or think we are. Yet I guarantee that for every ‘fault’ we find within ourselves, a good friend can list twice as many wonderful aspects of who we are – twice as many kindnesses, twice as much beauty, twice as much courage, twice as much heart.
We can always put off until tomorrow looking at ourselves in the way that we are being asked to. We can always put off until tomorrow the battle within ourselves that needs to be fought. Yet how much better we would feel if we didn’t? How much stronger would we feel if we felt the courage that straightens our spine? How much more beautiful would we feel if we saw the lines that told the story of our laughter, the story of the tears and grief that we shared and supported with friends? How much more empowered would we be know that we could meet any challenge we faced? How much more loved would we feel if we took that chance and recognised that essence of love that vibrates through our very being, in every moment, with every breath, with such sincerity and simplicity that its sheer perfection brings tears to our eyes and a previously unfelt joy to our hearts?
For me, Autumn is the opportinuty to recognise what life, what spirit has been guiding me to see and feel as not working, as not what is true to who I really am. It gives me the opportunity to allow those leaves to fall away so that I am ready for whatever takes their place.
At some point, we have to take a chance on ourselves. Let it be now.