Many people’s favourite season, Autumn is without doubt spectacular, and not just visually. Ever been caught in a leaf shower? It’s magical having leaves swirling and raining down on you, there’s nothing else to do but enjoy it. It’s like nature wants to have fun in letting go.
As summer’s blooms fade the season of transformation is playful, beautiful, and changeable. Do I need my big coat? Do I need my sunglasses? Maybe.
Transition for us humans is as unpredictable as the autumn weather. Change and loss in our lives is unpredictable and can feel unsettling. What unsettles us most is our fear of what happens after. Winter: coldness, darkness and scarcity. In Brene Brown’s new book Rising Strong she talks about her 3 day intensives of The Daring Way, and how in all the years of running it there is no way to make day 2 pleasant, it sucks, but it is needed to make day 3 possible; the transformation, the rebirth. The message in her book is that those who do rise strong, who come out of adversity transformed and empowered, are the ones who allow themselves to experience winter, who don’t try and skip day 2. Without allowing autumn and winter to do their job there is no space or energy for renewed growth in spring, and no fresh fruit in summer.
I saw Katie Piper speak recently. Inspiring is a word that is easy to bandy about in my field, but she truly is. And that is because she didn’t skip day 2, the winter, the misery and pain of her recovery. She might have if she’d had the choice but after being attacked with acid, there was no option to skip the hardest times. She talked about it in graphic detail, it was heartbreaking and horrifying. It is easy to see her now and think life looks easy for her, that she is successful, but she rose strong because of journey through the adversity. That isn’t to say she doesn’t wish it were different, but she accepts how it is. Thankfully, few of us go through such horrendous transformations as hers.
Nature shows us how gorgeous transformation can be. The leaves spent the sunnier months catching light for the tree. That no longer being the best use for them, they turn glorious colours and then dance down to the ground where they are played in and trampled on, till they turn to mulch and nourish the very tree that bore them.
But we humans often resist change, we even resist and bemoan the changing seasons. We don’t want the discomfort of winter. I sometimes wonder how different the world could be if we actually embraced the seasons: resting and incubating in winter, gently coming to life in spring, at full productivity and force in sumer then playfully rejoicing in Autumn. What illnesses and waste might we avoid, what joy and satisfaction might we experience…just a thought.
So to autumn, how can we take a leaf out of her book. How can you let go of something that no longer serves you and let it dance away in the breeze? Watch it go with love, knowing that it will serve the world better as a dead leaf on the ground than with you clinging on to it. It doesn’t mean you didn’t love it during summer, or that you don’t love it now. It just means it is right to let it go.
What faded leaves are you clinging on to? Have a look round your home, could you move some things on? Look at your daily activities, what could you weed out? In your social life? Your business life? What about a creative idea that you love but until you kill it off, it might hinder the growth of the overall project?
There are always places you can clear out some dead wood. Yes it might leave a space that looks dark and cold. Maybe that won’t be 100% pleasant but allow some fallow time and then choose your seeds to plant, or fill it with something spectacular. Unlike the forest you get to choose what grows.