The Seasonal Self-Explorer
The first day of autumn was only a few days ago and I find myself wanting to embrace the change that’s inevitable. Although I do enjoy a pumpkin themed drink or baked good, this post is not about pumpkin spice and everything nice.
As the days become shorter, the temperature drops, and the leaves turn shades of orange and red before falling completely off the trees, I can’t help but think of death and decay. But not in a spooky, morbid kind of way. I more so mean that everything is part of a cycle, and before new things can begin, old ones must break down and fall apart.
For me, autumn is a great opportunity to reflect and recalibrate.
I often associate the seasons with different aspects of my personal work. I’ll start the cycle with fall, because that’s where we currently find ourselves. This time of year is where I take count of things in my life and evaluate what’s working, what needs some attention, and what needs to be let go of. The decision is based on different subjective factors, and it isn’t perfect, of course, but it’s what I feel at the time needs to happen. In the winter months, I often become sort of hermit-like in my attitude, allocating a good deal of time and energy on turning inward to do the work portion of what I set out to do. It’s dark and cold as heck outside anyway, might as well make my time indoors productive! In the spring I begin to turn outward, looking to make connections and test out my inner work in my external surroundings. Summer is where I can enjoy all the hard work I’ve done in it’s fullest capacity. And coming full circle, fall is where I reflect, re-evaluate, and let go. Of course, these are generalizations, and I leave room for shifts and flow in all regards.
The great harvest is upon me.
So it is here that I find myself, standing on the edge of my fields and deciding what needs to be done. What should be hacked down and discarded? What should be salvaged? And what should I leave in the ground to allow it to bloom again in the future? I find that it’s most effective when everything is examined. I take count of how everything makes me feel, what areas in my life I’d like to learn more about, and then start to think about how I might actually do the work. For example, last winter a major priority of mine in terms of personal work was learning how to love myself more deeply and unconditionally. This required me to examine the ways in which I let myself down (i.e., I was a judgmental asshole who was hyper-critical of everything that I did or said) and make an action plan to correct my nasty thoughts/behaviours. Over the course of the winter months, I put in countless hours reflecting, writing, and talking about the origin of my inner dislike. I took note of the areas where my critic was most present and abusive, and I began to counteract the negatives by finding fault in their logic through reality testing and by putting more of an effort into highlighting the positives. Although this self-project is still on-going, I’m much more ahead of where I was a year ago.
Much like when the trees shake their leaves loose with the blowing winds, I too shake loose the things that no longer serve me (even if only temporarily). It feels good to stand bare and vulnerable, choosing to no longer hide from myself and the things that weigh me down. Although it can be challenging to adjust and it may seem cold and lonely, I always appreciate the raw honesty that it enables me to experience. When days get really hard, I always keep in mind that things will bloom again.