I usually receive the clues of seasonal change while staring out of my kitchen window admiring the trees in my backyard. When Autumn begins to peek its head through, the foliage starts to change colors, and the leaves start making their swift descent to the ground below. Somehow the leaves falling illustrates nature's way of letting go. It amazes me how autumn demonstrates death in such an alluring and fascinating way.
Ancient cultures, science, and astrology have associated the Autumn season with change. Through our minds, bodies and natures cycle, we can see that Fall is a spiritual season. As the trees learn to let go, we must release our grip on old things to grow and become better humans.
The other day, I received news that a family friend and mentor passed away. Once again, I immediately felt the cold winds of Autumn blow on my life. In my journal, on October 12th I wrote, “What a year of connected loss this has been. To love and to lose. To watch others, love and lose. To share grief and to experience it alone. Fall is teaching me that things must die to make room for growth. There is a morning after mourning.”
Life is a series of partings and this season reminds us of the fleeting nature of all things. No matter how tightly we try to cling to a loved one, friendship, job or habit; change is the essential characteristic of all existence. Fear of life’s impermanence will only leave us stuck in an abyss of pain and grief, but there is beauty in watching the leaves fall in our lives.
As the days become shorter and the weather begins to cool, we will find ourselves retreating inside our homes. Spiritually we should take a cue from the season and start to withdraw within ourselves to do the inner work. If that means forgiving yourself or someone else or making time to connect with God through silent prayer and meditation, the work of the season requires inward reflection.
In her work On Spiritual Strivings, Dr. Cynthia Dillard writes; “becoming fully human is the very work of being human.” Letting go is one of the hardest parts of our human work but living without peace is even harder. As the leaves fall, be grateful they once served as shade, and welcome all they uncover as they blanket the ground underneath us.