Finally, it is here! This is the day of the Autumnal Equinox; better known to us here in the Northern Hemisphere, as Fall. On this day, the number of hours of daylight and darkness are equal, there is balance. After this moment, the amount of daylight decreases by minutes each day, until we get to Winter Solstice.
I'm all for it! Bring on the brilliant colors, walks taken on paths lined with crunchy leaves, the cooler days and nights, bonfires, hayrides, apple cider, cozy sweaters, flannels, jeans... you get the idea. There is a dramatic shift taking place as we move away from the firey, intense season of summer, into the cooler, more introspective aspects of Fall. I think we could all benefit from a bit of introspection. No sarcasm here; rather a suggestion for self-care.
As we observe the leaves flutter to the ground and the critters store away food and supplies to hunker down for what is to come, we remember that these cycles of nature are also mirrored in our human lives. Fall is a season of duality when we simultaneously take in the abundance of the season and all of its bounty (harvest) while also surrendering to realities of decay and death. Just like the tree gently releases its leaves, we are given the opportunity to do the same. We are invited to simply let go of and "put to death," any burdens habits, or patterns that we no longer need to hold onto. The reward and impact may be subtle; consider that a win; or, it may significantly change the course of or satisfaction with your life; also a win.
If you have never taken time out to pause, reflect, or reset as we transition into Fall, I encourage you to start a new tradition on 9-23-2023. To begin, start by placing one hand on your heart and one on your abdomen. Inhale and exhale with ease. Close your eyes and continue until you feel centered and calm and to the point where your body is relaxed. Take your time and linger as long as you need. And for those of you "efficient" friends who don't like to linger, hang here for more than 30 seconds. You will instinctively know when you are ready to move on.
Your ritual can be practiced solo, or in a group of family and friends, and it could be as simple as lighting a candle and pausing to watch the flame. Or, by taking a few minutes to journal about what burdens or old beliefs you would like to leave behind. What can you harvest from the past months, and what are you ready to let die? Picture those things leaving your system as if they were gently falling like leaves. Embrace the idea that you are clearing space for what is new.
One of my favorite practices is to light a candle, wrap myself in a cozy blanket, and go outside to view the stars. The air is crisp and energizing and I feel connected to all that lies beyond me; which stirs up both a sense of peace and awe.
There is no right or wrong way to do this, and you may choose something different each year and that is okay. The gift lies in pausing long enough to recognize the ever-changing cycles of life and being open to letting go and accepting those changes.
Peace and Blessings,
PS. Old folklore says that for every falling leaf you catch, you will have good luck for a month. I hope you catch a lifetime full of falling leaves!