It's stunning at this time of year in my home town. Most of the trees here are evergreens. The climate is sub-tropical, leaning towards temperate yet our main street is called Maple Street.
I've yet to discover who introduced the maples that line the streets and parks, and show off their splendid display of colour as life goes inwards for the autumn and coming winter.
We forget that in the course of a lifetime we too navigate seasons. Heck, in the course of a day we can experience many seasons of experiences and emotions.
One of my greatest pleasures is the connection I have made with nature. Far from the maddening days of youth and trend and trying to keep up with the commercialisation of my life experience, this quieter season of late middle age is complemented with time and energy for connecting with the natural world.
The cycles of life are predictable, repetitive and reassuring. As summer recedes and the cooler air of autumn fills arrives I know it's time to take extra care with my health, prepare my home for cooler evenings, and add an extra blanket to my cosy bed.
It's also time that I naturally want to reduce my social time, focus on preparing the garden for winter after the last of the fruits have been harvested, prune and mulch, and plant my winter veggies. The bees are not so busy as the days get cooler which gives me a chance to prune back the flowering shrubs for a bigger, brighter display come springtime.
There's something about that time indoors that enables the soul to speak. We've experienced that through this period of enforced isolation from the dreaded COVID-19 virus that wasn't. Have you discovered things about yourself that you simply hadn't had time to consider?
So many people in my circles have discovered their lost and forgotten dreams. Their preferences for lifestyles and relationships. For me I've rediscovered the exquisite enjoyment of the simple pleasure of a friend's company. Conversations over coffee, sharing of ideas and planning days together to explore our arts.
The sheer enjoyment of preparing food slowly with care, to share without rush. There's a certain kind of magic there.
This reflective time of year enables me to sift through my daily rituals and habits and examine those that may not be serving me as well as they once did.
I really should dry mop more frequently to capture the cat hair that collects under my bed.
Is it really necessary to eat breakfast on rising each morning? Could I use this time to fast until I'm actually hungry, and begin to attend to my morning routines without that morning meal. I know! Heresy to demote the breakfast routine in favour of, well, what my body is telling me it wants. Was this thing about breakfast being the most important meal of the day promulgated by employers to ensure that they team didn't need a break until lunchtime?
Late autumn is the time that I deepen even more into hearing the whispers of my soul speaking to me.
There was a time when I dreaded this season, and would hide away until the warmth of summer returned. At that time my health was suffering under the weight of trauma from my early life experiences. To have resolved those sufficiently to be able to embrace the cooler seasons, to live them, to love them, to immerse myself in their wisdom and the beauty of their gifts is a renewal for me.
It's eminently enjoyable and educational to observe my kitty's behaviour as the seasons change. No amount of tempting will get her to use her especially purchased cosy beds until the air begins to cool. Then she snuggles in as cosy as a bug in a rug. I'm sure she doesn't spend anytime at all thinking about when she needs a warmer corner. She listens to the rhythm of her body that's fully connected with the rhythms of the seasons, and she responds to her needs as they arise.
Such a great lesson for us humans. Be like kitty! Be, allow, respond to needs as they arise.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.