Be Gentle with YourselfSeptember 14, 2022
Autumn: A Time to GatherSeptember 28, 2022
Why do trees drop their leaves? Because they no longer serve a purpose and weigh the branches down. All summer leaves photosynthesize – twigs send water and nutrients; leaves return sugar. With less light and colder temps, leaves produce less energy and still require maintenance; in an ice storm they cause broken branches. Through an intentional process the tree seals off the ends of the twigs, freeing the leaves to fall away. The tree enters dormancy, saving its energy for spring.
What might you let go of? I wonder what you could let go of that is not nurturing you. Letting go allows you to focus on your current goals and needs. As you shift into the autumn season what could be put away, taken off the task list, or given away to allow you to prepare for this next season?
What would that process look like? Trees do this over time. They seal the ends of the twigs gradually loosening the connection to the leaves. Once the leaves drop there is no wound on the twig. It is left free to the air and sun. Letting go can be a gradual process. If you are not sure if you want to get rid of something, put it in a box and label it with a date for review. If you don’t need it by then, give it away. Postpone a task to a set point in the future. Decide then if it needs to be done at all. Take a break from an expectation, see how that feels. How might you intentionally disconnect from things that no longer nurture you?
The someday, when I get around to it, after I fix it stuff. The “been tripping over that box for way too long” stuff. As the days get colder and we spend more time indoors I have a few areas I would like to clear. This will give me more space to be me, to think and write. There are a lot of theories about how to do this. The method that works for me is a gradual process. Set a box in the hallway with “donate” on it, next to it place a trash bag. Like a tree I remove a little bit at a time until the wind picks up and I get a lot done all at once. At least trees don’t have to drive to a donation place. Do you have stuff to drop off?
Those things you will get to tomorrow. What is on your mental or written task list? Are there tasks you can let go of? Try to cross off (mentally or literally) those things that you don’t have control of: “I am going to get my relative/friend to do this thing that would be so good for them.” Nope. Next is anything you are doing to impress “them.” Particularly if you can’t identify who “them” is. “My house looks so dated; I should spruce it up.” Why? Who are you sprucing it up for? If this makes you happy, and is possible right now, then keep it on your list. But if you are comfortable with your house (or any other thing) as it is, who are you pleasing? Is it some vague “them” that you are pleasing?
Apps that eat your time but don’t provide you with rest. Streaks that were fun and now feel like an obligation. Shows that were great in the beginning but the new episodes are terrible. You don’t have to finish the season! Games you were going to beat but you no longer care about. Delete is an option. Prune your friend list, ignore social media for a while or drop it altogether. The question is this: Does it give or take?
Get togethers or social events. Do these give you energy or have they become a drain? These would be the last things I would suggest dropping. There is an epidemic of loneliness in our world. At the same time there are billions of people. Be sure you are spending your time with people who see your good and that you enjoy seeing. What are you doing out of obligation? Community is vital for health and well-being. Even trees grow best in a forest setting as they shelter one another. What can you drop so that you can focus on what you need?
As the trees drop their leaves, what can you drop to prepare for the winter season of rest, settling your roots, and getting through the cold? There is faith in letting go. Faith that next spring you will have the energy to bud new leaves. Faith that letting go of the leaves creates a healthier winter.
9.22.22 Autumn officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere what can you let go of?
We will meet on 10/6 at noon EST for a Resilience Check In to share your thoughts on the Autumn Series blogs. The zoom link will be sent to our email list. If you are not already receiving these blogs in your email you can sign up here.
Laura A. Gaines