The Gifts of Autumn: Let Go and Enjoy the Ride

by Lucy Martin

Autumn has definitely arrived – the leaves are slowly changing colour and dropping from the trees, the air is crisp, the earth smells of decaying organic matter, the daylight is more muted, the wind more insistent in sneaking under your clothes.

I love walking at this time of year. It is such a sensory experience – the snapping of twigs, the rustling leaves, birds singing and calling to each other, the hustle and bustle of countless creatures preparing for winter. I don’t think there is anything subtle about the fall.

uprootedChanges in the fall can be swift and dramatic from one day to the next. One day can be rainy and cool, the next is sunny and warm, and the next a biting wind. Yesterday afternoon I enjoyed a walk in the woods with some friends. I was struck by how different the bush looked from two days earlier – Saturday’s wind had uprooted and broken numerous trees and branches, and had shaken loose a mass of leaves that now lay restfully on the ground.

I was reminded again of the all-ages book by Leo Buscaglia “The Fall of Freddie the Leaf” – a story reflecting on the life and eventual death of Freddie and his other leaf friends. Even though the story has been used to explore dying and death, it is also about letting go of what no longer serves us.

red leaf on fernNature is a fine teacher about the act of letting go – every autumn she demonstrates how to shed what is old and used up thereby making space for what is vital and new. She makes it look so easy and effortless. But for me, it doesn’t feel that easy just to let go of things, even if they’re no longer necessary or useful in my life. Freddie expresses this fear of letting go, of preferring to hang on for dear life to the known, rather than opening himself up to the possibilities of the unknown.

What is the cost of hanging on to old and useless (or maybe even harmful) behaviours, beliefs, relationships, belongings, etc? If we never clear out the clutter of our lives, how can we open our hearts and souls to the peace and inspiration of the fresh and new? What are we denying ourselves by clinging to what no longer serves us?

Actions to inspire you this Autumn:

  1. Go through your closet, desk, garage – any cluttered storage area – and discard or give away what you no longer need.
  2. Examine your attitudes and beliefs – resolve any old resentments, issues and hurts and let them go.
  3. Take time each day to breath slowly and deeply. As you inhale the clean autumn air, feel yourself energized and purified. Feel the old negativity, impurity and pain leave your body and psyche. Then contemplate who you are without these identities.

soft landingNature has shown us the way but imitating Her simplicity can feel more complex within our own lives. Letting go of the branch we have been clinging to for a long time may feel overwhelming and frightening – I urge you to find the courage to contact Shirley Lynn to ‘be your Daniel’. She has the knowledge and resources to help you let go of the old and useless and reach for the new and inspired.

Take action today. And may you land gently and gracefully,