September is both the sweetest and tenderest time of year. No matter where I am or what I am doing, threads of that telltale sameness find me. I’ve tried to avoid it. Sometimes I still do. Other years, I find myself running toward it, a coming home sort of feeling. Either way, autumn is an essential piece of who I am.
I’ve been feeling the shift of the season for a few weeks. In my body, I alternate between a catch in my throat and a yearning in my heart. I can’t decide if I need to listen and observe or write and express. Inward or outward? I shift between hot and cold. It’s my body trying to sort the balance of the polar seasons, which require their own specific attention, but the coming equinox requests more. Holding the poles in balance, in myself, feels like an exercise. It feels labourious because I resist.
Autumn requires energetic surrender. A willingness to be present and stand firm in trust and knowing connection. To have the fortitude to allow everything that happens to come and be detached enough not to keep it.
Unlike the beginnings inherent in spring, autumn guides us to be in the endings, to contend with the spaces left as things run their natural course. There’s a beauty in decay; if there is only room for so much, there can be gratitude for the room nature creates, the place from where something else will grow. But autumn doesn’t allow supplanting. To come to know what belongs in the emptiness, we need to become acquainted with the dark, feeling around what sometimes feels like blindly, allowing the rainbow of fear (anxiety, panic, alarm, frustration, anger, grief, despondency and so on) that can surround not knowing to present itself and settle. The shock of space takes time to sort. Uneasiness is amplified by the bigness of the feelings we’ve met here before. As we enter into this most vulnerable of places, we are reminded of the connections within ourselves. The grief we feel now is somehow connected to all the grief we’ve felt before, whatever state it has been left in. The longing and lacks, then and now. It can be heavy. We know this. We know there is no other way. This is why autumn feels the way it does. It is the moment of coming home and the recognition of comfort and discomfort. Doing it well is learning to stay with the whole of it. Perceiving it and managing to stay still (which isn’t usually some perfect looking thing, it’s often just having a moment of recognizing you are okay). On the other side of this practice, there is the satisfaction of contentedness, best served with tea, and the telltale slant of light of this time of year in the Northern hemisphere.
The embodiment of autumn is opportunity, to heal and imagine into the future. It doesn’t happen this way every year and it’s not supposed to. But the possibility is always there. Autumn is simultaneously hard work and latency. It is a call to connect to the depths of your wild and wonderful self and decide what happens next as you loop and weave and tie off loose ends.
Whatever this season is to be for you this year, may it help you feel ever nearer to joy and gratitude for your life on this beautiful planet. We are all here for a reason.
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