Why do the leaves fall from the trees in autumn? The truth is they don’t. They are pushed. It’s a very clever process. Longer nights and cooler days trigger hormonal changes in trees. They begin to close off the attachment bond between the leaf and the branch until eventually the leaf has nothing left to cling with and the tree lets go of the leaf. The tree does this to survive winter. Once all the leaves are purged the tree enters a ‘quiet’ mode, almost like taking a restful recovery sleep during the winter, to wake up and start anew in spring.
Nature is very clever. If you are in tune with the rhythms of nature you might have noticed changes within yourself during the seasonal transition into autumn. Slowing down of your metabolism, slower, more deliberate actions, vivid dreams or maybe your mood or immune system have been affected? There are some people who feel it acutely and are diagnosed with SAD – seasonal affective disorder – a medically recognised mood disorder that has a seasonal pattern (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). A recent neuroscience study has shown evidence that brain activity alters between the seasons (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016) suggesting that even in spite of artificial light and lack of natural stimulus, that we too are wired to adapt to the seasons.
Even if the seasons pass you by without having any apparent biophysical or neurological effect, you can still purposely use this seasonal transition as a metaphor for shedding your own leaves – those things that no longer serve you. How can you lighten your load and save vital energy during the darker months, so that you can recuperate and awaken revitalised in the spring?
To do this, make some time for yourself, where you won’t be disturbed. Take a journal and consider what leaves do you need to shed? If meditation is part of your practice then do this first so that you are open to what might arise as you do the next exercises. Take each of the core aspects of yourself – body, mind and soul – and take time to scan through each of them and notice what comes up for you. You can make this exercise a ritual by collecting up some fallen leaves beforehand and write one thing you want to let go of per leaf and then afterwards cast them back out into nature.
Your body – during the darker months we are less active, more likely to gain weight and maybe eat more ‘comfort’ food. What habits or indulgences do you need to reduce or get rid of that will help avoid piling on winter pounds. How might you avoid succumbing to the plethora of holiday marketing and not overindulge on rich, processed, sweet treats or drinks? Instead, focus on how you might boost your immune system so that you too can survive winter – eat wholefoods, grains and fresh foods and supplements rich in vitamin C and B and antioxidants. Take on some warming spices including turmeric, cayenne and ginger as these all help to boost immunity. And it’s not just what we put in our body. Avoid hibernating – try instead to get outside as often as possible and soak up some vitamin D. And even through we might not feel like it try to build exercise into your autumn/winter programme – even if it’s just a brisk walk – as exercise helps to produce the happy neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which in turn also positively affect metabolism, digestion, sleep and mood.
Your Mind – look at your thought processes and beliefs. Ask what changes you are resisting and how can you be more accepting? Acceptance can be passively allowing change to happen without resisting, or it can be more active. For example, it can be as powerful as understanding that a situation or relationship is having a toxic effect on you and accepting that without action nothing will change. So you might think of pushing that toxic influence out of your life so that you can recover and flourish once more. It might be that for you, that you think about becoming less resistant to changes, let go of some of your expectations of yourself and others, be less judgemental and more compassionate with yourself and others. Or perhaps you need to make a resolve to let go of old wounds and scars, to forgive and forget, and take some time to heal yourself.
Your Soul -what would your soul reflect if you could see it in a mirror? Is the culmination of everything you are doing with your body and in your mind leaving your soul depleted? Is it hiding rather than shining. A soul in need of nourishment can manifest as needy, angry, critical, resentful or lonely. What is your relationship like with your soul? if you have neglected it for sometime it may need a little TLC. If you do your body and mind work, this will help you to reconnect with your soul. But so will reconnecting mindfully with the external world. Look out to the world around you and remember you are in it and a part of it, not separate from it. As you start to notice the beauty and abundance around you, your soul will absorb and reflect the beauty and abundance around you. Develop a positive habit of holding the moment by using your senses to appreciate everything around you. Stop thinking about yesterday and tomorrow and take pleasure from noticing what you can hear, smell, taste, touch and feel. There is magic in every moment and every experience if you look for it. Look for the good in everything, not the worst, and your soul will reflect the same. As you start to exude more positive energy you will attract more positive energy to you. Pay more attention to what is in front of you, around you, above you and you will find it’s within you too.
Shed those leaves. Push them off your branches and take the time to nurture all aspects of your self so that you can shine again.Browse Front PageShare Your Idea
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