Welcome Fall. The season where the days are growing shorter and nights extending longer. We are beginning to wind down to the Winter Solstice where we experience the shortest day and longest night of the year. It’s a natural process of slowing down and preparing for more rest and if we don’t accept this natural rhythm of slowing down, our bodies won’t get what they need. And that’s exactly what the majority of us experience.
The advent of technology – electricity and the lightbulb in particular – entices us to artificially extend the length of our days. While it may seem like this was a groundbreaking advancement allowing us to be more productive, in many ways it has been a catalyst for the opposite – at least in the long run. We’ve seen this advancement is actually a contributing factor to the levels of stress we experience over the course of a year. When we go against the rhythms of nature – which is the case in autumn with less daylight and less time to ‘produce’ – we are not able to get the much needed rest and time of reflection we are created to experience. As a result, we are left with a dissonance in our bones that we may not recognize or understand, but feel nonetheless.
As we enter this third season of the year, we experience a time of transition from the yang energy of summer to the yin energy of winter. Autumn is a time that still supports activity, but it is in preparation for the ‘hibernation’ of winter. The Yang energy of summer is characterized by activity, heat, of the sun, lightness, and restlessness while the Yin energy is the opposite. It can be described as quiet, cold, of the moon, heavy and inhibited.
It is wise for us to take the time to notice the shift taking place in our surroundings and allow our bodies and lifestyle choices to mimic that of nature’s natural rhythms.
Let me share three practical ways you can live more in line with the autumnal rhythm:
1. Let Go. Take a cue from nature as you witness the leaves falling from the trees. Have you ever spent time at the foot of a beautiful maple tree as its leaves have turned a vibrant shade of red, yellow or orange and watch as each leaf so easily detaches from its branch and gently, gracefully falls to the ground? A time of dying – but accomplishes it with such beauty, brilliance and grace. This is a time of letting go and releasing that which no longer serves us – a much needed process and, as we see from nature, can be quite beautiful. This releasing or shedding can come in the form of decluttering your physical space or clearing out some of the overabundant thoughts in your mind. It can also be the releasing of a role you play or a relationship you have that is no longer healthy for you, is hindering your growth or an obstacle in the path toward your goals.
2. Reflect and Giving Thanks. For years, autumn is the time those who work the land bring in their harvest. The energy of autumn is a time for all of us to reflect on our own harvest. As we receive the abundance of our work, it is important to give thanks for the bounty we’ve been given. In a little over a month that will be the message we see everywhere with the advent of Thanksgiving, but taking stock of our blessings and remembering the joy in our lives is part of the energy of the entire season.
3. Slow Down. As you schedule activities and respond to invitations, keep in mind that whether you like it or not, your body feels the effect of the change in seasons. You won’t have the energy to do as much as you did in the summer and that is ok. It’s actually good and ‘right’. Trying to keep the same pace you had in the summer and artificially hopping your body up with more coffee in the morning to get going after too few hours of shuteye and a glass of wine at night to wind down after too many hours of running, is not the best way to care for yourself. Take this into account and really weigh whether you will be able to show up in your best light. Too many things on the agenda with less energy will mean an overall lack of effectiveness and showing up as less than your best – I know that is not the way you want to operate yet if you are not paying attention to the slowing down of our body, you will overpack your schedule and not have the energy to be productive and present.
So many people express that fall is their favorite time of the year. No one can argue with its beautiful display of color, but…
…I think the more unconscious reason we love it so much is because our mind, body and spirit so desperately needs the transition in energies.
It is imperative to our health the use this time to prepare for the time of rest and restoration we so desperately need. I’ve decided that rather than fighting the changes in seasons, I’m going to embrace the provisions they each bring. So currently, I’m working to honor the natural rhythms of Autumn. Will you join me?