Over the past week I have been feeling funny. For me “funny” can lead to all sorts of misplaced reactions and compensations when the feeling isn’t seen clearly and understood. So the process of finding balance goes something like this: I get short tempered – bossy with husband, frustrated with domesticity, mad at my cat. A lucid moment strikes, sometimes spontaneously, sometimes in the middle of my practice – all these things are symptoms of an underlying feeling that’s not being seen. So, what’s the feeling? Anger? Nope. Worry? Nope. Sadness? Maybe. Loss? Yep, that’s it. Loss about what? Family issues? Nope. Marriage? Nope. I remember at this point looking outside at the gray day and the falling leaves and something lit up inside. The summer is dying – and I’m feeling it.I actually enjoy many aspects of autumn but there is a distinct change in the essence of this season. The summer is the season which represents the prime of life in the overall life cycle – it is full of activity, vibrancy and life. Every day as the leaves turn and darkness takes over I believe that there is something in us that recognizes the dying season and reminds us of our own mortality. I know numerous people in the mental health field and they say that every fall there is an increase need for services. Every year I have sought counselling for the deep feeling of melancholy that is present for me in autumn. This year, I recognize it. And that’s enough. I watch closely as the natural rhythms of fall invite me to join in. I am being invited to a slowing down, a letting go and a preparation for the deep stillness of winter.
By detaching from the summer and letting go into the natural cycle of the season I can be invited into feeling the parts of myself that want to express this rhythm. A time of quiet introspection, a time when old emotions and wounds can be shed, a time when we release the unneccessary things so that we can dwell in the emptiness of winter. We may cycle through these seasonal rhythms many times a year but the external representation of that can be powerfully symbolic and a time to check in: do we allow the dying season into our lives? Or, are we addicted to the constant activity of summer? Can we allow things to die, rest a while in the emptiness and be filled again in the spring of our lives with fresh energy? The great Mother manifests her seasons, they come and go rhythmically and endlessly – can we allow them to do the same inside ourselves?
Take these questions into a quiet moment of your day or your practice. What season do you find yourself in most? Can you let nature show you how to feel the other seasons in your being? Let your yoga practice express it. What does an autumn practice look like? A summer practice? Let the nature within and without meet at the threshold of your heart.