As nature prepares itself for the winter, it is the season of going inward, physically and metaphorically.
It’s the season of fallen dying leaves heaping in piles on lawns and forest walks, salmon swimming upstream to spawn and lying spent on the river banks.
And the light – the light is dying too. Quieter are the days when the sun rises later and later still, and then hides in the evening earlier, exhausted from the day’s work. The cool air descends and the earth and rivers prepare for the calm stillness of the winter months.
Autumn is the season of death and decay. It’s the season of decomposing the energies of summer. It’s the time of heavy rains, washing, as if cleansing the earth’s way to winter. The composting of autumn makes room for the resting, reflection, and integration of winter, so it can grow anew in spring.
These are my reflections on this not-quite-sunny autumn day as I walk through the decaying leaves and salmon forest streams. As I walk through some of my favourite forest trails through the season, I am lead to reflect on my own seasonal flow and I’m reminded of my own autumnal tendencies.
Just like the leaves, the salmon, and the dying light of day, I think about what things in my own life I need to shed.
Which ideas and ideals, thoughts and identities, and beliefs hold me back from onward? Which of these are difficult to let fall away and compost into the potential of something new?
What are the things that I must let go of, to allow to disintegrate, reflect on, and finally to make space for other possibilities?
What are the deep set beliefs, identities, and judgements that no longer serve me?
Usually, when I think about the tendencies, patterns, and habits that I cling to, I imagine “letting them go” . . . as if they were leaves blowing in the wind . . . as if to disappear forever into . . . where? I really don’t know.
What I do know is this: they never leave. All this “letting go” over and over and over again, only to not really feel like anything is going anywhere!
I am not sure about this whole “letting go” thing. Allow me to elaborate . . .
In my fall ramblings today, I noticed something interesting – nature does not let go. Nature lets die.
Nature allows decay and a slow and fluid movement of one energy into another.
And we are nature, of course.
Ah . . . those things in my life that no longer serve me for the better . . . those things I am working ever so hard to “let go” of?
I now realize that I can’t let them go. Not now. Not ever. And that’s not necessarily a “bad” thing.
Regardless of whether these things serve me or not, they are and always will be a part of me. And that’s ok. So if they-that-no-longer-serve-me are a part of me, and I a part of nature, I guess it only makes sense to look to nature to find a way to transform the old into the new.
Another thought – if that-which-no-longer-serves is part of my very being and essence, then to “let it go”, I’m essentially trying to rid myself of my own precious vital energy!
I am basically trying to rid myself of a part of myself.
Looking at the natural world, nothing is wasted. All energy is simply transformed from life to death and into life again.
So rather than trying to “let go”, I will try to learn something and try to “let die”. Instead, like the earth and rivers and salmon of autumn, I must gather my judgements and egos, and examine them. Instead of turning them to blow away in the wind, I have to look and really see them. And with as much of love, compassion, and my best attempts at non-judgement I can manage, acknowledge them as being a part of me.
Only after I have looked – I mean really looked – can I see these things for what they really are and decide whether or not they serve me anymore. Only then can I start the process of change.
And so begins the composting, burning, and decay of these energies. With love and compassion, this precious energy which is a part of me can dissolve and reassemble itself into new healthier, positive, self-serving energy. Into what is needed to grow in the spring of being. In essence, the old nourishes the new. It is a process recycling energy time and time again.
Just like the salmon spawning, left to die, decompose, and disappear into the river bank, that energy is never lost. So, this autumn, as always, invokes an invitation to partake in an incredible journey into transforming the things I no longer need so that in winter with rest, reflection, and reintegration I can flourish and blossom in spring.