What is falling for me right now? What is falling as a result of time - away from the fed nutrients of the vine? What is falling from me? What have I left behind or am actively releasing? The wind is blowing and the temperature has rocked all the way up to 79 degrees and dipped all the way down to 32. That range - that movement and fluctuation in temperature and weather conditions is possible this time of year and is a trait of the fall season where I live. Within the same day I might wear shorts and sandals, but also socks, a jacket, hat and gloves. Is it any wonder that my own being feels these shifts internally that are happening externally? We are connected to the macrocosm and it might be of benefit to your health and wellbeing to pay attention to these shifts that are occurring in nature to better balance the pieces of your life - emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Back to the questions that I began this post with. These are questions that may arise naturally when you peer out at the natural world. What is falling for me right now? What is falling as a result of time - away from the fed nutrients of the vine? Outside we witness a shift in the colors - a process that takes place on deciduous trees, the result of a shift in daylight with more dark hours than light hours as well as cooler temperatures. These shifts lead to chlorophyll breaking down, necessary for photosynthesis, and halting the process needed for leaves to convert energy into sugars to feed the tree. Sugars can also get trapped in the leaves resulting in a new pigment (think dark reds). There are activities or obligations in your life that you can stop “feeding”. What are they? Can you divert that energy into something else during this season?
What is falling from me? What have I left behind or am actively releasing?
It is very common for us to give, give, and give some more. In an effort to meet everyone else’s needs, we forget about our own. Could you awaken to that this season and leave behind the days of going from one thing to the next without pause and instead call forth more space, more pauses, longer exhales? This could look like intentionally blocking out time in your daily calendar to just look out your window and connect with your breath. Pay attention to the qualities of your breath. Is the breath shallow, soft, loud, deep, bumpy, smooth? After observing, begin to intentionally take in air through your nose, feeling your abdomen expand. The in breath is filling up the body and the out breath is letting all of the air out and the abdomen softening. If you’re breathing incorrectly (which is not uncommon), then your nervous system will not sufficiently shift from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic state. Basically, you will not be able to move from a state of arousal and alertness to one of calm and relaxed. In addition, breathing through the nose will filter the air coming into your body, as well as humidify and warm it. There is no such mechanism for this when you breathe through your mouth and inhaling through your mouth may actually result in low oxygen levels in your blood leading to a stress state in your body as it may be starved for oxygen! Sometimes a cold or sinus congestion will make breathing through the nose difficult and you may be forced to breathe through the mouth. I am sure you have experienced this at some point and the discomfort that comes from mouth breathing. However, some people aren’t even aware of how often they breathe through their mouth when they should be breathing through their nose. Check yourself today and make this shift asap. Be patient with yourself and don’t create a complex about it. Just begin breathing in and out through the nose in the correct fashion described above.
If you’re able to step outside, even for a few minutes, then do that too. However, having worked in K-12 education for almost two decades, I know of many teachers that don’t have time to go outside and don’t have a window in their classrooms. Make it a priority to find a window on your prep period or break time at work. Put it in your calendar like you would any meeting or appointment. When you are outside, keep those ears covered. Wind in the ears can be aggravating and increase agitation and anxiety.
If you’re able to incorporate more spaces and pauses in your day, I encourage you to look for opportunities and practices that provide you a connection to yourself. This is a great time of year to begin developing a deeper connection with yourself. How is that relationship right now? Could it use some improvement? More than likely, yes. We tend to become disconnected from ourselves when we are busy and always doing. Days, months, and years might even pass before we finally take a good look at ourselves and wonder where we’ve been. The truth is, you’ve always been with yourself, but you just haven’t honored and nurtured that relationship. Like any relationship, it takes “work”. I used quotations around work because I don’t want this to seem like another chore to add to your list of things to do. Really, it is more being than doing. When you are with another person that you care deeply about, does it matter what you are doing together or is it more important that you’re actually together? Same thing with yourself. Save time and space for being alone and see what comes up. Start with free writing. What do your thoughts reveal to you? Once you’ve done this for a few days or a week you might begin to notice a pattern of thoughts or judgments. Take this as a message from yourself to yourself. How can you show up for yourself with more love and grace? How can you show yourself understanding? Maybe ask these questions on a piece of paper or in a journal and then just put pen to paper. See what you have to say. This might seem silly, but it’s actually legit. Try it. Try it more than once or twice. Try it again.
Yoga and Ayurveda have beautiful practices for fall that help ground the energy since some people will feel especially agitated, scattered, or anxious this time of year with the air and ether elements being dominant. Practices that bring you closer to the earth, eating nourishing and warm foods, as well as poses and movements that bring you closer to the earth (think forward folds or seated poses, less poses and longer breaths), as well as meditation that is focused at the navel, all help with grounding. Yoga nidra is one of my favorite practices that increases presence and is both grounding and healing. Listening to soothing music, lighting a candle, and taking a warm bath is another way to wind down and spend time with yourself.
The natural world is remarkable and you are of it. Being mindful, witnessing what is happening in the macrocosm can help you better align you, the microcosm, to live a more holistic life that is built on a foundation of love, compassion, and patience for yourself. We reside in a world that has become increasingly disconnected from nature and Mother Earth. How you treat yourself will extend to how you treat everyone around you, including the earth herself. What kind of world do you want to live in? What kind of world do you want to leave behind? Your legacy is your own self study. Take time to learn about yourself and feed this learning with love. The seemingly small encounters you have each day with everyone you come into contact with as you walk as a soul in a human body on this beautiful earth is nothing short of miraculous.
Love to you as you continue this journey into the fall season....