Hello Fall: A lesson in letting go
Happy last day of September!
Can we finally say HELLO to fall? Because apple pie, comfy sweaters, crisp air, and excuses to spend time curled up with my love (my pup) makes the year's final smile my favourite time of year!
It's funny though... when I tell people how excited I am about fall, I'm often met with hostility. They wish it was still summer. And while I understand where others' are coming from, I wonder why we have such a hard time embracing the cooler months of our lives. The times of transition, where we are forced to retreat and do less.
I noticed this last year while working in mental health. Over and over again I met people who were diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, and I questioned how we could put a label on the human need to do less during the winter. Instead of blaming society for demanding so much of us all year round, we blame a person for not being able to 'keep up' with demands that go against the body's natural tendencies. We define successful people as being unstoppable - regardless of season - and give labels and prescribe meds to those in tune with their bodies and their need for rest. There is a reason why there is less sun and our bodies get less vitamin D in the winter. Without vitamin D we have less energy. And less energy serves a purpose. To step back and reflect and create space for a prosperous spring and summer. Cause nothing in nature blooms all year long.
Including YOU and your life.
Just as we are handed winter once a year, we are sometimes handed moments - life's winters - that force us to step back, retreat and reflect. We get dumped, we hit creative blocks, we get laid off, and we get sick. Or worse... we are hit with nothing (as is the case for me right now). With no direction, and no forward movement. And it really sucks. But it's also as natural as summer turning to fall and fall turning to winter.
So often I chat with friends going through difficult times and they can't see a way out. But there is always a way out, because just like happy, flourishing times don't last, the sad times don't last either. When we are dumped, we love again. When we have creative blocks, we create again. When we lose or outgrow our jobs, we find new ones. And when we get sick, we get better. It's the natural cycle of life. The important thing to remember, though, and most people don't like this part, is that in order to get the new, the better, the upgrade, we need to embrace the dying and decaying of the old. We need to embrace the transition.
While it's absolutely true that your next love, creative spark, new job, and health will come, it's also true that they won't come until you let go and embrace life's winter. Because anytime we are asked to let go, we are asked to let go for a reason. It's only in letting go that we can lay the foundation for the new (and better) to come into our lives.
We don't try to stop the leaves from falling off the trees. They fall to make room for new ones to grow in their place. If they didn't, new leaves couldn't grow. The same is true for you. The longer you hold on to whatever it is that is wanting to leave your life, the longer you have to wait until anything new can come to you.
We spend so much time wishing for new without willing to release the old. Because we are so afraid of transition. When we know we aren't happy in our relationships, our jobs, our whatever, we stay because we aren't prepared to wait until something better comes along. But not being happy (consistently, not just here and there... please don't jump ship when things are hard!) is a sign that whatever it is you are unhappy with wants to fall away from your life. Life is cyclical, and there is will always be something new to take the place of whatever you leave behind. If only you would make space for it.
If you find yourself grasping for summer or anything else, let it go. Don't fight it. Embrace the winter, find things to love about it. Hard times will happen if you like them or not, because hard times serve a purpose. They are a platform for growth. The more you fight it, the harder those times will be. So why not lean into them and find ways to love them? To enjoy the things only life's winters can bring?
Easier said than done, I know. But the truth is: you can let go or be dragged.
If you're currently experiencing a tough time... what is ONE thing you can do to make it better? For me and my current lull I'm going to spend more time meditating and getting to know myself so that when things speed up again (because they will) I will be even more prepared to make good use of that time.
Sending you strength and lots of autumn love.