In autumn, you may notice that you feel very different than the summer months. The growth in the natural world during the summer months is obvious. As part of the natural world, we grew during that time also. With the change of season, the plants and trees are growing at a slower rate or not at all, at least, to the naked eye. Their energy is beginning to move inward. Annuals will die when the frost comes. Perennials and trees have quit sending nourishment to their extremities. Instead the energy is moving downward into the roots that live in the darkness of Mother Earth. The naked eye doesn’t see what is being fed, only what isn’t as the leaves fall away.
Living indoors, it is easy to ignore that we are part of the natural world. Yet we often feel the seasonal change, even though we aren’t aware of where the difference in ourselves is originating, nor how to benefit from it. Listening to our innate wisdom, we can remember. In fact, it is time to reconnect to our innate wisdom. Where it is natural to be active during the long daylight hours of summer, it is natural to be more inner-focused during the shorter days of autumn and winter. In contrast, many activities have become part and parcel of our lives at this time of year, inviting us to send our energy out instead of the natural movement to see how to strengthen our roots. Stronger, they can support additional growth next spring. It’s not surprising that humans find themselves exhausted after the crescendo of the holiday season. We’ve been steadily working against our instincts.
To balance both the growth of the season past and also our cultural pull outward, it is essential to look inward. It is a great time to lie on Mother Earth and watch the leaves detach with ease. Their growth has peaked. They leave in support of the energy returning to the roots, which strengthens the whole. Without them, there is space for us to see what was unseen. In that way, our vision expands. For humans, there is the invitation to notice what to let go because its time. Letting go doesn’t equate with valueless. Many emotions, beliefs, and material goods may have served us well, yet no longer fit, like clothes we outgrow. It’s very uncomfortable to continue to squeeze into clothes that are too small. When we were children, we knew that.
Before electric lights, the darkness of autumn and winter brought us back to ourselves. Now we must consciously choose this reacquaintance with who we are now. The lit rooms and screens often become distractions from this movement of strengthening our roots. Distracted long enough, it is easy to fear this natural process because of its unfamiliarity. Yet it is as life sustaining to us as it is to the trees.
As a child, I heard about spring-cleaning. Of course, this was a time of coal-burning furnaces, which deposited soot everywhere. When we no longer stoked the fire, we cleaned the aftermath. For us, the time of cleansing is the autumn. So I ask: What emotions fit their time, conveyed a message, and are taking up space now? What beliefs helped you navigate a phase of life, yet are at odds with your life today? What objects have you accumulated that you don’t even notice, much less use anymore, and clutter your living space? What energies are holding you back?
The answers to these questions are totally acceptable when they are received as information, directing your autumn cleansing. Whenever we convert the answers to guilt, embarrassment or shame, we are intolerant of them. We then experience them as something to avoid. Then we are internal hoarders who don’t recognize that we are hoarding.
Your spirit and your fellow beings in the Northern Hemisphere are all telling you it’s time to clean out your internal space so that you can dream through the winter what you want to grow next spring. I pray that you listen.