Fall, the season of the harvest: a time to go inward, reflect and gather.
Here in Boulder, we had a pretty abrupt transition into fall this year; yet, the 100-year flood initiates us into a new season, a new time, a time to deeply practice all the tips that follow more than ever. We may feel a bit shaky on new ground (literally) but, with any transition, there also comes a time to embrace change, a time to hold on to what we believe in most and shed the rest.
Such is the energy of autumn. We can think of the floods as cleansing waters, just like fall is the cleansing season. Purify during this magical season (it is my favorite) and get ready to embrace the deepest, most profound parts of yourself.
At this time of year nature contracts, and after our abundant harvest we turn to preparation and storage for the winter. We follow the energies of nature by listening inward, planning for darker days and nights and preparing for the upcoming stillness of winter. Our sense of smell is heightened, and our appetite is stimulated by the fragrance of warming foods.
Our bodies want to release and let go of the sadness and grief stored in our lungs. This time of cleansing is about letting go and strengthening our bodies for the colder days. Fall cleansing brings us a deep sense of our truths and our connection to our bodies, our homes and our communities.
Fall is one of the most colorful and abundant seasons of the year. The heat of the summer has ceased, and we see the yellow hue in the sky as the sun hits the pumpkin fields and tall grass each afternoon. I love walking around the farmers’ market at this time of year, because—in the beauty of fall—each booth is at its peak; each farmer has been able to see his/her year to full abundance and fruition. The air cools, the cooking creativity begins, and we celebrate the harvest.
There are many ways to connect with the season of autumn. Children love to run through the corn maze and carve their pumpkins. Adults often find themselves wanting to cook delicious fall soups and apple pies. For thousands of years we have come together over delicious fall feasts connecting with our families and communities.
Here are a few fall tips you can play with this year to sync up with the season and align yourself with the beauty of the harvest.
The wealth of gorgeous foods in their fullest expression is something to notice this fall. The colors are bright and warming to the soul. Our natural tendency is to gather the harvest for the cold and dark winter to come. Saving seeds for the following spring, storing root vegetables to make into yummy crock-pot meals and canning some autumn delights make for fun family projects.
As the leaves fall to the ground in their bright oranges and reds, there is a sense of letting go and ackowledging. Autumn is the time of transformation between the growth of summer and the dormancy of winter. Things are winding down, and—once the harvest is complete—there is an opportunity to follow the inward flow to self-inquiry and discovery. If you have something to let go of, autumn is the perfect time to initiate this process.
Fall is known as the season associated with the lungs in Chinese medicine. It is often a time when children come home from school with upper respiratory coughs and weakness as the weather changes. It is important to strengthen the lungs in the fall. This can be done is a variety of ways but here are a few of my favorites:
- Make sure you and your family exercise regularly. Pump the lungs often so they are strong and cleansed with rigorous life-giving breath.
- Many foods in the fall are known to support the lungs. Root vegetables such as onions, leeks, and ginger are supportive to the lungs. Fruits such as apples and pears care for the lung tissue as well. Eating with the season is the perfect way to maintain healthy lungs.
- Keep warm. As the cooler nights come rolling in, make sure you are dressed for the season, not the day. Keep those lungs warm and cozy and you will naturally boost your immune system.
As you watch the leaves falling from the trees and becoming the earth‘s nutrients for next year’s planting, it becomes obvious that fall has an energy that flows downward and inward (as opposed the upward and outward energetics in the spring). What are the aspects of your life that ground you and your family? Make a list and practice these grounding activities regularly in the fall.
It is a nice time to take long walks in the colorful forest and feel the leaves crunching under your feet. Consider collecting nuts, pine cones and fall treasures for an altar or a fairy garden with your children. These small autumn rituals and habits help us harmonize ourselves with autumn. It is natural to sleep more, rest more and begin to tune inward towards introspection and healing.
Lush sunflowers, tucked in with the plump orange pumpkins, are an abundance to celebrate. The colors, foods and celebrations of fall are profuse. Feel gratitude for the beauty of the harvest. Set a seasonal outdoor table rich with a cornucopia of color and nature’s gifts to warm the heart for any celebration. Share a gratitude blessing before your meals, as it promotes health and happiness.
Light a bonfire to take away the chill of the evening and join in a circle of friends celebrating fall in its glory.
Take it in! The abundance is around you and within you. Your only job is to notice and appreciate its radiance. Whether you are settling in to family and community for the long dark nights ahead, or rebuilding yourself after a devastating flood, remember all you need exists within. You are the strength, your are the love.
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Assistant Ed: Dejah Beauchamp/Ed: Sara Crolick