Nature does not hurry...
... yet everything is accomplished.* That's one of my favorite sayings to try (and usually fail) to live by. I try to remember to be calm and forward moving like nature, without hurry or stress. It's kind of funny to think about nature in those terms, especially right now, in the area of the world I live in. We are currently experiencing this crazy thing called "autumn" which is a lovely season that feels like it certainly IS in a hurry!
While we've had a comparatively mild autumn, staying warm and dry enough compared to some other years, a heavy rain came upon us on Halloween and took away with it any remnants of summer. The sky cleared, bright and crisp on November 1, with the customary fall chill feeling absolutely frigid in comparison to the days leading up to it, the fall foliage nearly all ripped down by the rains and wind and finally landed at the end of Daylight Saving Time, this morning giving us an extra hour of sleep, but also an extra dose of wind and cold.
So to say nature doesn't hurry feels untrue this week in particular, where we've seen so much change, but that is just the nature of this season. The word "autumn" has ancient roots that refer to the passing of the year, so necessarily this season is all about change. We live a whole life in this season: the last of the summer harvests being full and then retired; the leaves on the trees still green in the beginning, moving through their last brightest stage, and ending with the leaves being released to the ground, and the trees left bare to weather the coming winter; seemingly every major holiday of the western world occurs or is planned for during this season.
Autumn may be a whirlwind, but that is exactly as it should be. And that is why it is still true to say nature does not hurry, because nature is just doing it's thing and we are just responding to it. For me, I find this time of year invigorating, inspiring, but also potentially overwhelming. I can be toxically productive, squeezing so much out of every moment and hour and day, that the whole season can pass by, leaving only memories of all the stuff I did, but not enough of that time being present in the beautiful and chaotic moments we're privy to.
How do you respond to this change in seasons? Do you feel similarly swept up in the energies of nature? Or does the cooling weather weigh heavy on you, slowing you down as we prepare for a winter hibernation? As we cultivate awareness into our responses, we can start to find a balance with it all. For me, that might require a slowing down, a stepping back to focus my energy on being present rather than always doing. Those who find themselves slowing down to nearly a halt in response to the changes, may benefit from moving more, finding a way to let energy build by instituting a more vigorous exercise program.
I'll give my own suggestions on some ways to find balance this season and maybe they will serve you, and maybe they won't. Share in the comments ways you find balance this season!
- Go outside. This season offers so much to admire and notice through all the stages of life happening around us. Be in nature, whether deep in the woods, strolling your neighborhood, or at least opening your windows and letting the chill air sweep through your home.
- Alternate nostril breathing. This breathing technique helps to cultivate balance, something that can be helpful during this season of change. To practice:
Take pointer and middle finger of your dominant hand and place them in between your eyebrows.
Close off one nostril with your thumb.
Release your thumb and close off the other nostril with ring finger.
Release your ring finger and close off the other nostril with thumb.
See? Alternate nostril breathing! Do a few rounds of this, perhaps ending with a short, quiet meditation where you just keep breathing naturally, hands resting lightly in your lap.
*My man Lao Tzu is credited with saying that. Lao Tzu (pronounced like "loud" minus the "d" and "zoo" but the "z" is more of "ts") is considered the father of Taoism, a Chinese philosophy-religion that focuses on the Tao or the Way and advocates living in harmony with it. For more on this, check out one of my favorite podcasts: https://whatsthistao.com/what-is-taoism/.