In a year when the world has been upside down and inside out, nature offers us predictability. Seasons change. The earth moves in relation to the sun and we have less light, less warmth and all around us plants and animals react to reflect this shift.
Although the days are growing shorter, I still love Autumn. Nature has lessons to teach us about life and we can watch and learn.
When the environment changes, we can change
How often do we feel that we have to keep going at the same pace and in the same way, regardless of what is happening around us? What would happen if we allowed ourselves some time to reflect on what we are doing? We might decide that some of the things we do aren’t needed right now, or that we could change our routine so that we see more daylight perhaps or make the most of the dark evenings to create warmth and cosiness inside.
We can let go of the things that we no longer need
The leaves on deciduous trees start changing colour as they receive less light and eventually they are released and fall to the ground. Losing the leaves is good for the tree. Without the weight of the leaves, the tree is better placed to withstand winter storms and snow. Are there ideas, thoughts or feelings that we hold onto? Beliefs about what we have to achieve to be a “good’ or “successful” person? Sometimes, these can weigh us down. We are good enough, as we are. Let the things that don’t serve us fall away. We will be better equipped to coped with turbulent times without them.
Build stores to sustain us through the winter
Have you seen the squirrels burying acorns and nuts? They are finding nutritious goodies that they can turn to when they need them in the future. We can do this too. I’m not talking about food stores (though thinking about what feeds us is important too!); I am referring to the memories we hold. Memories of supportive and nourishing relationships, memories of how we got through when things were tough and memories of times we felt safe, excited, joyful. Our memory stores can be a resource to draw on. Gathering up the images, sensations and recollections of these times can be a lovely way to spend some dark evenings. When we talk about memories, imagine ourselves in these places and with these people again, we can feel the echoes of what we felt then. We can organise our memories so that they are available to support us when we need them.
So I welcome Autumn. Here’s an opportunity to think about what we need and what we don’t need. We have permission to adapt to the changing environment and plan what we need to help us through. And, in the meantime, we have the changing colours of the leaves to remind us that change always comes.