“All life needs time below the surface, where it can breathe itself full and round, where it can reconnect with its nature and sprout again in its flushed form. Just as you can not force flowers to continually bloom, the same is true for all human beings. There is great value in letting go and dropping down. We must learn to remember, from time to time, to be like the tree in the winter.” –Sarah Blondin
Day 172 / 365
Today the day finds itself in perfect balance with the night, thus subliminally signalling us to find balance too. Autumn Equinox is a time to express gratitude for how far you’ve come and hope for where you wish to go.
Traditionally, the shifts from Summer to Autumn and Autumn to Winter are less celebrated than the vibrant promises that come with the transitions from Winter to Spring and Spring to Summer. But each one has its teachings and, like all forms of change, offers an opportunity for exponential growth.
As the exterior aesthetics of flowering flora and steady sunshine begin to turn away, we are guided inwards to a certain state of hibernation. In this state, we’re faced with two options: to “be like the tree in winter, dormant but living, allowing ourselves to reflect, reset, and grow - or - to continue pushing ourselves down the path of distractions and doings, diverting ourselves further from within.
In our current state of society, despite all the transformative tools of technology, we have lost touch with time. Our sensitivities to the rhythms which guide us flutter freely just beyond our grasp, their wings unable reach us in the whirlwind daily life so often brings. They hover above and around us, whispering in the winds, awaiting the serene stillness we so often try to escape. Without them, our foundations fail us, eroding at our core, creating cracks which flood full with insecurities, faults and follies, keeping us from our state of greater being. They infuse into our roots, feuding with our serenity and feeding from our joy.
For me, this year of daily doings: the blog posts, the freelance work, personal admin and life as it comes, has been lead with a sense of passion, but that passion does come at a price. Numerous times I’ve taken enough time to reflect on how that lack of time makes me feel, but I’ve not changed my rhythms and I’ve continued to ignore my cycles, causing suffering to my soul. I grasp at the wisps of time, trying to extend and prolong those magical moments which have managed to seep in through the state of stress I’ve chosen to allow in my life. But it is always just that inch out of reach. Too quick and clever to be grasped.
I wrote a post for Numi Organic Teas on my 4 Fall Wellness Tips. But didn’t head my own advice. I hurriedly wrote my mantra while my husfriend shot photos over my shoulder, gave him a kiss, made some tea, and moved on to the next thing.
Last Saturday when the moon was full, I didn’t notice. My husfriend and I woke up feeling low and my ever looming ‘to do’ list pushed me further down. I didn’t take the time to listen to what this familiar feeling was telling me, nor how me continuously ignoring it affected my reality. Shane (my husfriend) asked for us to take the night off and at first I refused feeling stressed out and selfish. But as the day turned to night, a beam of light broke through the weighted clouds which had surrounded me. What was this all for if not for he and I? Overworking myself separates me from him and others I adore, and that is the opposite of what I’m going for. I want more Love and connection, not less.
I don’t remember the last time my partner and I took a whole night off to just BE together. No computers, no plans, no movies, no distractions. Just us. Focused solely on ourselves and one another for an extended period of time. It was transformative and healing. To sit, laugh, talk, share, reflect, appreciate and create. Embracing the essence of what had brought us together in the first place.
I unpacked all my memories from home, the items which ground me and give me a sense of strength. My moccasins, my fur tippet, and a knitted sweater. Then I adorned myself with braids. When I was a kid, I learnt that hair is an extension of your thoughts and that the ritual of braiding in First Nations culture brings a sense of oneness, unifying yourself with the mother who made you. Each individual strand is weak, but joining them together physically demonstrates strength and unity. One mind, one heart, one soul, keeping you on the sacred path of light. These simple rituals and objects brought me back to me, and I suddenly felt a sense of calm and confidence I’d long lost return.
Such a simple thing I’d been avoiding, to take time for my partner, for ritual, and for myself. The grounding it brought has carried me through the week without a sign of stress in sight. It’s made me feel more hopeful, more balanced, and light.
Over the past months, apart from my spectacularly supportive and soulful partner, the anchor I’ve held on to which has fed my self and soul has been this beautiful podcast called #LiveAwake by my friend Sarah - a podcast I’ve not yet found fitting words to describe. Her soulful insights have warmly motivated me to be mindful, as her words gently guide me towards a greater state of wisdom and awareness, allowing me to listen and embrace the parts of myself which need attending to. This pasterpiece of hers inspired this blog post in many ways and has had its part in gently guiding me through this year and maintaining any growth I’ve made time and space to welcome. Though all her episodes speak to me, there is one which I feel is poignantly perfect for this particular change of season. If nothing else, in celebration of the equinox, give yourself 10 quiet minutes to take in these words. I have no doubts they'll ground and guide you to forage and find freedom this Fall.
photos: SHANE WOODWARD