Bring mindfulness to the changing seasons
Itâ€™s interesting to me just how much can come up for us as we shift from summer into fall! The memories that are stirred deep within us by sounds, smells, sights, temperature changes, can have a profound effect on our emotions and state of being. Some of these memories stir up wonderful feelings, while others have the potential to leave us feeling rather low. Taking time to practice mindfulness (simple awarenesswith compassion and non-judgment) provides us the opportunity to explore our own personal experiences with change.
It can be extremely helpful to bring awareness to memories, thoughts, feelings, and emotions as they arise within us as the seasons change. Itâ€™s also beneficial to notice any resistance we may be experiencing around change.
Take a moment and explore what thoughts and feelings are coming up for you as summer ends and fall takes over.
Two Forms of Striving: Clinging to what we want, Battling what we donâ€™t want
For some there may be an internal struggle letting go of summer as it inevitably fades (whether weâ€™re ready or not). Others may feel more like jumping in with both feet, elated to exit the hot weather and welcoming the shift. For many it will be a combination of feelings: saying goodbye to one season and adjusting to the next.
We all experience resistance to change, and yet change is the only constant in life! Perhaps the answer is finding a new way to dance with uncertainty! Just noticing what weâ€™re clinging so tightly to, and what we’re going to battle with! In mindfulness we often refer to these struggles as striving.
Clinging to the way things are; not wanting things to change or shift.
â€œGoing to warâ€ with the way things are; wanting things to be some other way.
There can be great value in practicing non-striving, just observing how things are in the present moment.
Becoming the curious observer of our own experience.
We can learn a lot about ourselves by tapping in to whatâ€™s arising right here, right now within our own body, our own thoughts, and our own emotional states. We donâ€™t have to do anything with this information. Often, just noticing without judgment, without criticism, and simply opening to our present state with compassion and kind reflection can bring about a sense of peace and ease.
Examples of shifting seasons
Personally, Iâ€™m noticing the shifting season everywhere I look. For example, a recent trip to the Farmerâ€™s Market brought about a tinge of sadness as I noticed that the summer peaches and corn are no longer available; and yet the bounty has not ended, it has only shifted. Those same stands are now filled with an abundance of apples!
The changes are apparent everywhere:
Carefree summer days have shifted back to school buses, backpacks, and lunch boxes.
Summer jobs take a back seat as kids return to college, course work, and routines.
Summer tennis events (like the US Open) have given way to fall football games.
What does fall and the shifting season bring to mind for you?
What sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations trigger happy memories for you? Pumpkins? Colorful fall mums? Changing leaves against crystal clear blue skies? Cooler temperatures? Blustery fall breezes and dancing leaves? An October day on the beach? College football games? The sound of Marching Bands?
What calls your attention and asks for compassion?
What speaks loudly with joy-filled memories?
What are you grateful for today?