(You can listen to the audio attached, or read:)
I’ve been thinking a lot in recent days about how we navigate this exact moment up until the actual onset of winter.
We are so culturally out of sync in our travel through the multiverse on a planet that asks us to acknowledge and surrender to its cycle and instead watches as we fight that cycle at every turn.
This exact time of year is historically a thoughtful, quiet time even in the ways it brings together loved ones, and it’s the often discarded portion of autumn that is gently preparatory, allowing us to sigh and lean back in our chairs after a busy growing season, a good harvest, and a hearty meal. The dishes are done, the leftovers are stored away, but everyone is still gathered, sated or sleepy or restless.
It’s a time to assess what we are most going to really need from the upcoming chill and how we’re going to survive that chill so that spring’s arrival isn’t just a lovely surprise but a welcome visitor, waving us forward to plant seeds that we have carefully chosen during a quiet and chilly season of reflection.
We’ve made this part of our year the moment when we as a culture reach for our wallets and deplete our financial and energetic stores rather than prepping for a season of careful survival and thoughtful seeking.
Instead of jumping up from our harvest meal, what if we took a thoughtful pause, looked around, and assessed our next move? Do we have room for dessert? Do we need to get our in-laws out of the house? Are we still hungry? Are we tired? Is there a book that we would love to read? Some evening journaling to process the day?
All of these metaphors offer reflection, assessment of our needs, and a reminder that we as creatures ourselves are part of the nature that slows with each winter, whether it’s taking time to build snow people, figuring out what we need to regain conscious footing in our life’s cycle, learning something new about ourselves or our next venture by the light of our favorite candle, or giving ourselves needed and overdue rest where possible.
What comes next for those of us in the northern hemisphere is the shortest day and a season of slowly returning light. We’re currently sitting in twilight. It’s the long, deep breath before… what? Only you can know, and you don’t have to decide right now, but it’s good to know what your needs are as you think about these upcoming chilly months. That’s what this part of autumn is about.
For me, this is the time to really assess my energy, engage in honest reflection about how much I have to give over the holidays, and since I’m an avid office supply lover, I love to choose a gorgeous new planner or tweak my existing system in nerdy prep for a new year. This point in season isn’t yet the time for engaging in the ritual processes of the upcoming solstice, but I’m thinking about them and taking an inventory of how I want this seasonal shift to create shift in me.
Are you allowing yourself this time? The dusky wind-down into the truly chilly evening of winter?
- If you can’t find that time and space, what needs to change?
- Who or what could support you in getting that time?
- What could you delegate or put aside for now, lightening your load?
- What part of the commercial wind-up could you discard?
- Do you see yourself in your current routines, traditions, and commitments?
- Which part of your current schedule or routine does nothing to light your path or allow you to be present in your life?
There are so many things to consider about how we navigate our way toward solstice, and we deserve to give ourselves the time and permission to explore what this time of year means to each of us and how we need our traditions, end of year task lists, and schedules to serve us in practical, magical, and sustainable ways.
How are you navigating your late autumn? I would love to hear in the comments.