Ah, ‘tis the season for corn mazes, apple cider, and yes…pumpkin spice-flavored everything. Fall is nature’s way of easing us out of warm and welcoming summer days and into the harsher winter. During this transition, it is so easy to focus on how much we’re craving just one more beach day or how shoveling a path to your car in the midst of a blizzard seems like the last thing on earth you want to do. If we aren’t careful, we’ll slip between the cracks of the transition and miss out on an opportunity for growth. Without making the choice to be present this season, winter will be here in the blink of an eye, and we’ll have failed to take advantage of its abundance.
We’ve all read plenty of motivational quotes about how to “be here now” and “live in the moment,” but what does that actually mean? Being present is no easy feat and is something that will always have room for improvement. Nature has given us such a wonderful opportunity to practice mindfulness by finding the beauty in transitional periods.
Take notice of how the weather makes you feel physically and mentally. I know that during the first few brisk, grey days of autumn, my body tends to feel stiff and sluggish as it starts making the necessary adjustments for the chilly weather. I try to take this as a reminder to slow down, practice a little extra self care, and appreciate that my body is adjusting without me having to even ask it. How incredible is that?
Take advantage of what the land has to offer during this season. Pull yourself into the moment by preparing the abundant fall foods…squash, apples, sweet potatoes…mmm. Spend time outside taking in the new smells and filling your lungs with the new, crisp air.
Reflect on the symbolism of autumn’s change and transition. What new changes would you like to bring into your life? Are there old patterns to let go of that are no longer useful? Make a list of these things as a reminder.
Notice the life transitions happening for you during this season. Whether you’re shifting into a new job, in or out of a relationship, or making a more inward transition of changing personal habits, thought patterns or attitudes, be aware of the emotions that surface. Like the longing for beach days or the stress of snow, we can be quick to resort to either nostalgia or fear of what’s next as a tool of avoidance instead of learning from those feelings.
Embrace the present by appreciating the past for where it has brought you and preparing for the future without basing it off of an emotional reaction of worry. Remember that time isn’t precious – moments are. The instant we start considering our time as precious means we’re already focusing on the moment ending instead of fully living in it. Pause, reflect, let go, move on.
Author: Emma French is an intern at Continuum Healing and student of naturopathy at Trinity School for Natural Health.
Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt under Creative Commons license