Autumn is upon us... at least according to the calendar, but from the weather in Portland today (warm and sunny) you wouldn't know it!
For those of us who recognize we are not separate from nature, that we are made up of the same elements as the natural world, we pay particular attention to these changes in season. We consciously shift our focus and align our lives to be more in balance with the natural world around us.
But why? Why does that matter? What's so important about aligning with the current season?
Isn't that "living in rhythm" stuff all a little hippie-dippie?
It might seem like it at first, but hear me out. If you are reading this, you are probably invested in your health and well-being. You want to know how to feel better, how to grow and evolve. So it would benefit you to know there are significant health and mental health consequences for not living in alignment with the season.
Imagine rowing a boat upriver all the time. Now imagine that boat is your body and mind. It's exhausting, right?
When we align ourselves to the natural world including the qualities of the season, we begin to move with the current of life - like gently guiding our boat down stream. We immediately relieve the drain on our energy or life force.
How might your lifestyle be draining your energy and contributing to your anxiety and overwhelm? How might it be affecting your lack of clarity and depression? your chronic pain and health issues?
Okay, so you get why it is important, now how do you relieve this constant stress? Understand this: "like increases like" and "opposites balance."
If you're anxious - do more and sleep less. You'll definitely create more anxiety. Conversely, if you clear your calendar and rest more, your anxiety will decrease.
When we apply these principles to ourselves and the natural world, we see that autumn carries the qualities of being light, dry, cold and mobile (windy). We recognize that these elements are also present in our own bodies and minds: think dry skin, unfocused mind, restless sleep, variable energy. Living in rhythm with the season calls us to balance these naturally occurring qualities of autumn with ones that are more grounding and stable (think: warm, soft, heavy and slow).
You can do this by...
- eating cooked foods that are heavier and warming (soups and stews)
- practicing yoga that is grounding and relaxing versus fast and athletic
- taking mini breaks throughout the day to rest your eyes and mind
- massaging your body with oils and/or taking a warm bath
- using scents in your home and work space that are warming and grounding (think nutmeg, cedarwood, ginger, vetiver)
- going to bed earlier
You probably do some of these things already. (Where did you learn it??)
Recognize the change in season brings changes inside you. You can either work with or against your natural state. Both have consequences. Which do you prefer?