Rather than mourn the loss of longer, warmer days until we find ourselves eating turkey and counting how many shopping days remain, how can we consciously create a time of growth and renewal over the next six weeks?
After the lazy days of Summer, the long weekends, the loose schedules and lack of structure, I see the signs of Autumn all around me. Whether it’s the late day sun shining on a crimson leaf, the crunch of acorns below my feet or the smell of apple cider on the stove. As the bronze glow fades from my skin, a similar glow around my spirit dims as the back to school, back to structure bell tolls.
I am hesitant to let go of the care-free feeling I embraced the last three months. It makes me wonder if people began to refer to Autumn as Fall because a fall is usually something you don’t choose to do. You don’t choose to fall down the stairs. In fact, you make every conscious effort not to fall. You don’t choose to fall in love, you just brace yourself when you feel the arrow pierce your heart. Leaves don’t even choose to fall from trees, they just can’t hold on any longer. And no one chooses to turn their back on summer, to just pack up their swim suit and walk bravely toward winter. That fall must be involuntary, from warm to cold, from light to dark.
But just because we fall against our will, doesn’t mean our fall has to be unconscious. Autumn is a time of harvest. So I invite you to welcome the six practices I set out below into your lives for the next six weeks for a guided, conscious fall through Autumn. And how many of us actually (or secretly) seek such structure, long for predictable patterns, and thrive on schedules.
The intent is to harvest the gifts you already have by seeing them with new eyes, appreciating them with a new heart, utilizing them with new focus and celebrating them with new energy.
Today I offer the first – Reflection. Each of the following five weeks I will offer the next practice so we can digest and explore each one fully before moving on to the next. May these practices yield an abundant and bountiful harvest.
Reflect . Refocus . Restore . Revive . Receive . Rejoice
Week 1: Reflect – First, reflect on…
What’s working in your life and what is not?
What do you need more of and what do you need less of?
What are your strengths and what areas could use some work, some focus, some love. Look at each aspect of your life (mother/father, husband/wife, lawyer/doctor, writer/singer, friend, caregiver) with a clear mind and a compassionate heart. Be fair but forgiving, objective but empathetic.
What direction are you headed right now? What major decisions in your life set you on that path? What small choices that you make every day, intentionally or without any thought, have subtly changed your direction over time?
Does that direction align with your core values and goals? What would a slight pivot look like? What would a complete sea change entail?