September 23, 2014

Using Autumn to Beat Self Sabotage.


I’m sitting here in front of a fire much like this one with a laptop upon my lap, realizing we’re within a few hours of Autumn Equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere—a time of transition.

Traditionally Autumn is a time of abundant color, pumpkins and squash, heartier harvest meals, and cozy sweaters; yet this time is also a fertile time of transition.

As I sit here in the dark cool night, my face lit by fire, I smell the crinkled leaves around me and hear the sound of crickets singing out their final days of summer.

I’m reminded that we’re coming full circle again. Even though we’re in the middle of harvest season, something is dying, and we’re heading full force into the darker nights of winter.

Death is here.

Trees are pulling chlorophyll from their leaves,  bushes are celebrating their now shriveled flowers with bursts of berries, and the sun is starting to give us here in the Northern Hemisphere less and less of his attention.

For me—grief, sadness, shame and guilt arise. Not because I’ve done anything wrong, but because some potent potential arrived upon my doorstep today and I’m reverting into old childhood beliefs and patterns of unworthiness.

For a fleeting moment I found myself celebrating the possibilities, yet in my next breath I felt shame and guilt arise—both familiar feelings I’ve carried since childhood when my mother used to scream: Who do you think you are?  You think you’re so special; well you’re not…you’re just like the rest of us and life is hard, so get used to it.  

So I catch myself. When something good starts to unfold for me, I’ve learned to breathe through the rising emotions of fear, guilt, shame,and of sadness. If I don’t, I drop the ball, give up and throw in the towel.

You see it’s easier for a lot of us to fall back into old patterns when life starts to get good.

It feels safer to expect hard times because we’ve been conditioned by well-intending parents, television and books to expect less for ourselves and to play it safe.

We strive for our dreams, working our asses off, and then when the universe starts to deliver something, we say to ourselves: “Oh, this can’t be. I don’t deserve this….there must be some mistake.”

But we do deserve goodness in this lifetime. We’ve just bought into the belief that we don’t.

Where does this come from? I’m sure you can make the same accurate guesses I can, but I’d rather turn my attention towards using this fertile time of seasonal death to propel ourselves into the next phase of our seasonal life.

For me, I received some majorly good news today. Deep potential crawled upon my doorstep and sat herself down. I took a moment to marvel at her abundant possibilities, and then immediately felt the guilt and shame of my mother’s old words.

I felt the breath leave my chest as I braced myself for the next round of toxic memories quickly robbing me of any joy that crossed my awareness just moments ago—but I’m not a rookie anymore.

I’ve learned to surf the self-sabotage waves of my childhood.

I’ve learned to recognize the voice inside my head that isn’t mine.

And most importantly, I’ve learned to take a clue from nature and realize that all familiar things must die—even things we’ve clung to since childhood—familiar things that while toxic, are still familiar and comfortable.

So now as fall wraps her dark abundant ever changing cloak of change around me, I throw it all into the fire. I write those beliefs down on paper and I throw them into the flames to be consumed by a wisdom older than you or me.

I watch the sun crawl across the sky during these ever shortening days and I remind myself that like the light, these memories too shall pass. These voices in my head that I, like so many of us, carry will fade in time as I start to distance myself each time they arise.

Each time they surface I see the face of the wounded one whose lips delivered them to me, and I have sympathy for the pain from which they were created.

But make no mistake.

Like nature’s ruthless way of sucking the life out of the plants around us, I suck the life out of these toxic beliefs each time they surface.

Nature makes us endure the darkness of winter before the dawn of spring, and I remind myself that old beliefs must die before new dreams can be born.

Before the harvest of good in our lives, something old and toxic must die and death is just around the corner waiting. Death is the fertile compost making demon that fertilizes the hopeful spring moments that lead to our abundant summer dreams.

So my hope is that you join me and use this fertile time of death to celebrate the ceremony of fall all around us. Cast into the crisp winds what no longer serves you, and remember to leave behind the old this season, so it may become the fertile compost of your future.


photo credit: Let Ideas Compete via photopin cc



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Editor: Travis May
Photo: Nick Foster/PixotoLet Ideas Compete via photopin cc


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