Here in the Pacific Northwest, you can feel summer winding down; there is a bite in the morning air, and the earth smells different, cooler and softer somehow.
We are approaching the Autumn Equinox, the halfway point between Summer and Winter Solstices, the brightest and darkest times of year. The energy of Summer starts to dissipate and slow, moving from this expansive, excitable energy of the sun to the dark, dormant energy of the seed. We are moving from illumination to darkness.
This is important. We can’t always be radiant and we can’t always be hibernating. There are times to expand and times to recharge, times to play, and times to rest. So here we are approaching a great transition, a movement towards Fall where our energy draws inward, starts to reserve, and goes from creation to contemplation.
It is a wonderful time to reflect on what we are harvesting. What have we planted that is now coming to fruition? We want to acknowledge what we have grown and then allow the field to rest. We want to witness what we have developed in ourselves, and then allow the garden of the body and the heart to rest while all that we have grown nourishes us.
We can mark the harvest in many ways and this has been celebrated by peoples since time immemorial. One way that is really beautiful is through the creation of an Ayni Despacho. The Ayni Despacho is a tradition that comes from the Laika of the Q’ero, the Indigenous people of the Andes Mountains. This beautiful prayer bundle is crafted to give thanks to Pachamama, the Earth, for all that she does, and to be in right relationship or Ayni with all of creation. You can learn more about these here.
We are also in a time of great transition in family rhythm and community rhythm. We are facing another school year with the pandemic, people are tired, people are polarized. How can we cultivate ease in a time of such deep feeling and passionate discourse? How can we honour the letting go that the season teaches us through the decay of leaves and growth?
I suggest getting quiet. This is a practice. In the wee hours of the morning can you get up and drink your coffee or tea by candlelight? No screens, no journal…just allowing yourself to sit quietly before all else arises and just being with yourself.
Try spending an hour outside in nature everyday. Not walking your dog listening to a podcast, again not plugged in, but genuinely with yourself outside. Solitude gives us the space to notice. Nature gives us the opportunity to slow down. When we slow down, things come into focus, we gain clarity, and we can replenish what may be overstimulated, drained, or exhausted.
Eat nourishing, seasonal food. Fresh is always best but in the autumn, the body loves seasonal foods like roots, squash, and kale. Eat foods that are slow cooked, like roasted veggies, soups, or stews; and warm your food with heat or spices like ginger and cinnamon.
Listen to your body. Rest when you would like to rest and move when you want to move.
Connect with your family, your friends, and your inner wisdom through play. Walk in the leaves, do puzzles when it’s drizzling, build forts, paint, watch movies, work with clay, whatever it may be.
Let the word of the season be Nourish, feed yourself so you can feed your people and your land. This will fortify you for the cooling and drying nature of Winter.
May you walk in beauty.