Lessons From A Leaf

It is our last camp-out of the year.  Warm, sunny days mark the end of September and the sun refracts in the vibrant colors of Fall making the day even more beautiful, surreal even.  Every once in a while a breeze moves through and we are showered by falling leaves from the giant birch trees that surround us.  They make a peaceful descent toward their eventual disintegration and I feel both amused and inspired by that.   As I watch them fall I am reminded of the times in my life been asked to let go.  Those times when some aspect of myself or my life has lived its season and passes into a phase of disintegration, death.  I wonder if, in those times, I have let go with the same surrender as I watch around me now.  Or have I resisted, fought, or denied the coming of a new season?

What amazes me most about Autumn’s great purge is that each leaf releases precisely “on time”.  You don’t see leaves gripping to their branches, clinging desperately to some imagined chance of summer’s revival.  Nor do they force themselves to detach.  There is no pushing toward the next phase of their journey before they are ripened for it.   There is a natural timing to which they synchronize and I am reminded of this possibility with gratitude.

At times I seem so far from this synchronicity.  Forcing or gripping, fearful or controlling of the coming change of seasons in myself and my life. How do I know when I’m ripened to let go?  In asana, we can practice catching the current of natural timing.  As you come into a posture be sensitive to its phases:  The setup, initial sensing in the pose, adjusting based on what you see in the sensing, settling and transition out.  Do you tend to hold much longer than your body may need or want?  Do you transition too quickly, never allowing your body to communicate its timing?  Each pose, like each leaf has a process of budding, full robust expression, decline and release.  Can you identify each phase, sensitively and naturally?

Most the time we practice and live based on contrived, egoic notions of timing.  We want life to conform to our watch.  Let nature inspire you today, listen intuitively to the wisdom of your body in asana, at your desk, at coffee or on your couch.  Listen until you hear the voice of a greater intelligence – this intelligence that churns the great cycle of the seasons can surely take care of the cycling of your life when you let it.