Flowing with the seasons - Autumn Edition
“Embrace the seasons and cycles of your life. There is magic in change.” ~Bronnie Ware
Themes: Harvest // Pruning // Gratitude// Letting Go // Surrender // Cleansing // Mystery // Contemplation // Going Within // Remembering Ancestors
Important 2022 Autumn Dates
Autumnal Equinox: September 22nd - There are almost equal hours of daylight and darkness. Reflect on who you are now and what changes you can make to become who you want to be
New Moons: September 26th // October 25th // November 24th - Good for setting intentions and calling our dreams to the surface of consciousness
To be energetically aligned with each season, just as in nature, we have to begin to tune in and tend to our cycles of creation, growth, pruning, and rest. Each season has its own wisdom, challenges, and joys and offers lessons in meaning-making and purpose if we take the time to be intentional.
Our internal rhythm is shaped by our unique physiology and neurochemistry, the stressors in our environment, how we’re raised, the quality of our relationships, where we live, and the impact of each distinct season in nature and our lives.
As autumn approaches, temperatures start to cool, plants begin to go dormant, and animals prepare themselves for the upcoming cold weather—storing food, burrowing, or traveling to warmer regions. In many cultures around the world, we celebrate harvest-time with annual festivals, paying respect and giving thanks for what the earth has bountifully bestowed upon us.
Following a seasonal cycle for your own life begins with awareness and consideration of how the natural world ebbs and flows around you. As we shift from summer to autumn, consider what to prune and let fall away. Make room for slowing down, create some internal space to cultivate better habits that support more rest, and be mindful with setting limits on outside demands.
As the daylight hours grow shorter, our collective energy turns inward towards conserving, presenting us with a powerful potential for introspection and analysis. It’s time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished up to this point in the year and what details need your attention as you prepare for the fallow time ahead. The focus shouldn’t be on perfection but on efficiency.
Even as you slow your rhythm, autumn is here to help you evaluate your life so that you can shed, heal, change, and evolve. The magic lies in the energy of this season, offering growth through purification, cleansing, and coming “home” to ourselves.
When you pay attention to this inner rhythm, there’s an ease and knowing that rises from deep within your subconscious to the surface, helping your body transition into an unhurried and healing flow.
Small changes can have a significant impact. Listen to your body’s natural rhythms. Set realistic intentions that are within reach. Simply adding 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted daily self-reflection time, preferably in the morning, helps sync your mind and body to a rhythm of nuanced internal listening.
Offering yourself this quiet, liminal space is a foundational habit for building resilience. Making the time to consider your day-to-day patterns helps build strong neural pathways in the brain that promote change through growth and reorganization. The brain will begin to rewire itself to function in more optimal ways.
Questions for consideration during self-reflection time:
- When do I naturally feel energized, and when do I instinctively feel like going inward?
- Do I practice good sleep hygiene habits? Do I need more rest?
- Am I nourishing my body with healthy food and physical movement that helps release built-up stress and tension? What does my body truly crave?
- Am I allowing for enough (technology-free) downtime and creative pursuits?
- Am I in healthy relationships with others?
- What commitments are no longer serving me?
- What’s necessary for my life right now?
As you answer these questions, also consider when and how you prioritize nourishing yourself through restorative practices.
Like the low tide, you may feel an ebb of energy in autumn. Notice how the shift impacts your body in diminishing hours of sunlight. Aim to get several minutes of full spectrum daylight in the early morning hours, ideally between sunrise until about 10 am. This is important for your circadian system, which regulates alertness, concentration, digestion, immunity and sleep.
Courtesy of Andrew Huberman, PhD - American neuroscientist and associate professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine:
View bright light (sunlight is best) 30-60 mins after waking - it triggers cortisol to wake up and also determines going to sleep later, setting an internal timer that's both electrical and chemical
You need this light especially on cloudy days! Aim to get roughly 5 mins if it's bright out, 10 mins if its' cloudy, and 20+ mins on rainy days. Go outside!!! Don't wear sunglasses or look through tinted windows - low, diffuse UV light is best
Try to get direct morning light 80% of your days for optimal results…. Make up for a missed day by doing twice as long in duration the next - it’s cumulative
Finally, strengthen your mindset by setting an intention. Select a word or phrase that resonates with how you want to experience the season. Use it as an anchor as you move through your days. Your word/phrase should inspire joy, provide a deeper connection to the season, promote more flow, and be a reminder that your rhythm is your own.
When I first began my own practice, I thought it had to be rigid. The aha came when I finally realized that I get to determine what my sacred time includes and, importantly, how it makes me feel connected. It’s malleable. I find “pockets” of time within my day for being mindful. The important part is that the HABIT is there. The TOOLS change to accommodate my schedule and needs of the day.
Practice is a process, and it changes over time. You may make a commitment to do a specific activity for years, or you may get what you need from it in a day. Practices do not have to be complicated.
However, I do have some non-negotiables - meaning they take precedence daily, no matter what else is going on. They are my minimum viable connection points for well-being. I can accomplish them in 20 minutes first thing in the AM to set the tone for my day. Anything else I choose to include is icing on the cake.
Here are a few building blocks to consider for your own practice: journaling, mind-mapping, meditation, breathing exercises and/or breathwork, prayer, walking in nature, yoga, tai chi, qigong, art-making, sound bathing, dance, gardening, sauna, sacred reading, art-making, chakra healing, mantra chanting, gratitude reflection.
What does your daily practice include? How much non-negotiable time are you willing to invest?
For a bit of morning zen and relaxation: Journey to Peace Meditation