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September 24, 2017

The A-Zs of Mindful Autumn Festivities.

You’d think I’d be one of those pumpkin-spice people—queuing up for lattes and baking pies.

I mean, fall is my favorite season! But I could take or leave all the pumpkins eating. I’ll carve them up, and I once baked a meal in one, but that’s about it. Still, I’m one of those people who is totally crushing on the season that is autumn, and as the seasons change, my heart does a little happy dance when the autumn equinox arrives.

So, here’s my A to Z guide for us all to mindfully enjoy the fabulous things that make up the autumn season:

A is for apples. Apple picking and apple pies. It’s for apple festivals and warm apple dumplings with a generous scoop of ice cream. It’s green apple slices dipped in local honey. It’s a candy apple on a stick from the state fair and its rides lit up with a thousand lights twinkling behind us. It’s for warm, spiced apple cider and the scent of apples and cinnamon in the air.

B is for boyfriend hoodies. We don’t have to have a boyfriend to acquire a hoodie, but I personally have spent every evening of the last couple of weeks curled up in my boyfriend’s hoodie, sweater, or t-shirt. B is also for boots and bonfires!

C is for cuddling. Cuddle a pet or cuddle a friend or cuddle a partner—but cuddle! Cuddle up with a great book and a warm blanket and enjoy the beautiful weather. And C is also for cardigans and candlelight—all wonderful ways to set a mood and revel in this beautiful time of year.

D is for dressing up in costume. It doesn’t matter if we do cosplay or simply make our own costumes; the Halloween season makes it perfectly acceptable for people of all ages to don a costume and throw parties. Host a masquerade or go trick-or-treating with kids, just have fun getting into character.

E is for Elephant Journal, my go-to place for connecting with like-minded people. But even better, we’re not always like-minded. We have different perspectives, and it’s wonderful to get someone else’s take on the human experience. Plus, I always learn how to be more eco-friendly!

F is for farm fun! This is the best time of year to visit a farm and participate in picking pumpkins, riding on hayrides, getting lost in a corn maze, and generally enjoying the natural beauty of a local agricultural area.

G is for gorgeous weather. It could not be prettier with the chill in the air and the trees flashing their bright colors.

H is for harvest and Halloween and hayrides and hot tubs and haunted fun. All of these things are awesome ways to enjoy the cooler weather!

I is for interesting books. I’ve just requested a stack of atmospheric autumn reads from the local library. Thrillers, mysteries, and even coming of age tales can all be evocative of this season.

J is for jumping in leaves. No one is ever too old for this! Simply rake them up and jump on in!

K is for knowing that fall is the absolute best! It really is a wonderful time of the year if we take a time out from all of our life-stressors and focus on all that we have to be grateful for—particularly during a season where letting go is the thing.

L is for leggings. L is for leaves. L is for letting go. I can’t say enough about my love for leggings or the spectacular fall foliage, but autumn is a time when the trees let go of leaves and gracefully transition. We can all use it as a model of how we might gracefully transition to each new stage of our lives—not just aging, but simply living with all of the holding on and then letting go that it entails.

M is for movie nights. There are so many movies I love to watch this time of year! Netflix and chill (as in, actually chill) is absolutely perfect for autumn nights!

N is for nature walks. This is a fantastic time of year to hike, to walk trails, and to generally be in nature. If we have kids, we can make it fun with a scavenger hunt. Regardless, we can learn to mindfully tune in to the environment (and turn off our phones).

O is for oven-baked treats. There are so many delicious goodies to make from all of the seasonal produce this time of year!

P is for pumpkins. Pumpkin picking and pumpkin pies, jack o’ lanterns and pumpkin seeds.

Q is for quality time with loved ones. There are so many activities we can enjoy with our loved ones. We can take a historic tour or a ghost tour. We can visit a haunted house or family farm. We can pick our own pumpkins or apples. We can make this time all about being with family.

R is for road trips and raking leaves! This is a great time to get out and see the beauty of the surrounding country. We can take a new road and find out where it leads or visit a place we’ve always wanted to see and just never have. We can make it—this beautiful life—an adventure!

S is for sweaters. And salted caramels. And s’mores. And simmering soups and stews. And scarecrows.

T is for tailgating and thankfulness and trick-or-treating. I’m not a football fan, but I know many people who are. Tailgating can be fun even when our enthusiasm for the sport might be a bit lukewarm. We’re allowed to enjoy it anyway and have a good time with friends.

U is for understanding yourself. As the season turns, we can draw our attention inward to our thoughts and feelings. We can use this time of year to take a little inventory and make sure that our outer lives resonate with our inner ones.

V is for vino. As in drinking wine while wearing a sweater on a blustery fall day. I once visited a local winery that offered a warm, spiced apple wine that was simply delicious.

W is for windy days and warm blankets. Fall weather is great, and we can learn to appreciate warm blankets on cold days.

X is for extra fun. There are so many autumn events to attend, and yes, I just cheated with the letter…

Y is for indulging yourself. Indulgences don’t have to be large. We can make a pumpkin facial out of the pumpkin insides when we finish carving our pumpkins. We can get a hot stone massage or even stop for a scoop of maple ice cream—or make our own. We can purchase that jar of honey from the local beekeeper or take a luxurious, peaceful walk through the woods. We don’t have to be extravagant; we just need to find a way to enjoy ourselves.

Z is for zoos—petting zoos. Most farms have them this time of year, and it helps raise awareness about local agriculture while providing income for local farms. Plus, kids (and adults) love it!

From Z to A, and A to Z, the season is filled with fun fall activities! Sure, we could just clock in and out at work. We can clean our houses. We can spend our evenings catching up on the DVR. Or we can choose to savor every moment of the season.

I know which one I’m going to do!

~

Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Frank Marino/Unsplash
Editor: Danielle Beutell
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Travis May

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