Staying Mindful this Fall
In New Mexico, our companie’s home base, Fall is a distinct and special time of year. The mornings start to have an invigorating chill in the air and the sun now reflects off the vibrant golden yellow hues of the Rio Grande Bosque. Unique to Albuquerque, fall also brings with it whimsical hot air balloons that float in the new cool air, infusing a sense of imagination and wonder in the changing of the season, and the smell of roasting Green Chile gives heartwarming feelings of home. Early in the season, afternoons are the perfect temperature, but this warmth begins to descend into a cool darkness much earlier in the day, as our natural surroundings begin to slow down and transition.
Although Fall is a lovely time of year, we have to remember to cultivate and conserve our own energy as nature’s energy changes. We feel nature’s energy shift and sometimes it can be challenging when our relationships, work, family, friends and upcoming holiday events and their demands don’t lessen. However, Fall is a time of gathering; gathering of our thoughts, our families, and our abundance, into our lives and consciousness. We can learn to think deeply from a base of experience. We can become less reactive, more mellow, less irritable, and more accepting during this season.
Here are a few ways to to cultivate mindfulness and embrace the natural shift in energy during this wonderful season of change:
Let the Chill in the Air Energize you
The new chill in the morning definitely tells us that summer is over. Although many of us probably take a lot of time in the summer to experience the sun on or face or enjoy the outdoors, we probably don’t give the cold the same amount of attention and appreciation. Often, when we feel cold our first response is to tense up and think “I hate the cold,” which actually just makes us colder and blocks us mentally from enjoying the invigoration that the chill can bring. Instead of just thinking ‘ I hate the cold!’, why not try using it to become more present? Notice the chill on your face, how the wind feels on your skin. You don’t have to necessarily love it, but just becoming aware of it and learning to relax into it may bring new feelings and sensations that you weren’t aware of before, that may inspire and energize you in a time of low-energy.
Take a Moment to Notice the Leaves Changing
“Autumn is a paradox. It is a season of beautiful color, yet a season of death. It is a season of loss (falling leaves, dying plants, ending of green life), yet a time of harvest and bounty. It is a season of warm colors, yet a season of cooling air. What a perfect setting for meditation.”-Jay Suthers
Probably the simplest, most awe-inspiring and meditative practices that you can do during this season is to stare at a tree. It may sound silly, but giving yourself 5 minutes outside to observe the changes that are occurring in that tree and to open your senses to your surroundings can provide much needed space to this busy season, and provide nourishing gratitude. Since this season often feels busier as we’re approaching the end of the year, making space in your schedule to be present is even more crucial, which may require a stronger focus on time management so that you can incorporate these activities that will help you slow down and, as a result, energize you. It’s so simple: go outside, find a tree, open up your senses, watch a leaf as it falls.
Be Aware of Potential Imbalance
“I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its leaves are a little yellow, its tone mellower, its colours richer, and it is tinged a little with sorrow and a premonition of death. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor of the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and is content. From a knowledge of those limitations and its richness of experience emerges a symphony of colors, richer than all, its green speaking of life and strength, its orange speaking of golden content and its purple of resignation and death”-Lin Yutang,Chinese Writer and Inventor
It’s easy to feel slightly out of balance as fall approaches and you begin to feel the changes that accompany it. In general, our thoughts become more introspective and deeper during times of significant change. Starting a new year of school, moving to a new apartment, changing jobs, a 50th birthday, ending a relationship, being diagnosed with an illness, losing a loved one, getting married, and a change in seasons can trigger contemplation about our lives. Many people can become sad or sentimental during this season, as family gathering and memories come up with the holiday season drawing near. As we feel the change of season, we might be reminded of loved ones who have passed, or may descend into depression as the days become darker and colder. We may also be struck with a sense of loss; with the leaves falling from the trees it can be a harsh reminder that everything eventually ends.
When faced with this imbalance, it’s especially important to cultivate mindfulness. All people grow on this Earth, in a body, for a time, and all people depart this body. There is no escape from this truth. Sometimes ideas grow, sometimes they become obsolete. Sometimes business grows, sometimes business goes backwards. Our love grows. Our love changes. Some love seems to stay. Other love dies. Nature teaches us these lesson through the seasons. The seasons change, just as we change. We all experience our own seasons, times of light and darkness. We’re not separate from nature in this way, but instead interconnected. If we can accept the changing weather, we might take one step closer to accepting our own changeability.
By practicing mindfulness during this season of change, we can kindle internal fires, to bring us peace and comfort throughout the year, despite the changing nature of ourselves and the natural world we are so closely connected to.