Autumn - my favorite time of year, which begins this year on September 23 - a Monday, which is also a beginning.
Autumn represents many things to me, the apparent changing of the seasons, the warm feelings of the approaching holidays and time with family and friends, tempting smells from the kitchen and walks on chilly mornings. Leaves are crunching underfoot, Halloween candy, apple cider, and pumpkins are all around.
But Autumn also feels like a time for cocooning, nestling in and settling down. Finding calmness to meditate on the year that has so quickly passed. Time to think about what you’ve accomplished, opportunities seized and missed, and how you have fared with your goals and passions.
Fall is the time for preparation and meditation. Reflection and assessment.
As I thought about all of this, I had the urge to look up the word Autumn to see what other insights I could find, and I ran across this:
Autumn is the third season of the year when crops and fruits are gathered, and leaves fall. Leaves are the main organs of photosynthesis and transpiration, which is the evaporation of water from the plant through the leaves. Wikipedia notes it as the “necessary cost” for the plant to function and grow.
Let’s let that sink in for a moment. Autumn is:
The third season of the year, it marks the transition from summer to winter.
The change from the time of lightness and long days where you can work, play, and get things done. To spend time in the elements. You spend more time awake than you do asleep, you have energy and vibrancy to accomplish things. This is a season of being free and unrestrained moving into a season of nesting and bundling up shorter days, long nights and cold.
Spiritually, this speaks to me in terms of the season of creativity and discovery. Summer correlates to the time of enlightenment and ideas, openness to expose yourself to new things. The light is upon you, warm and you carry the glow. It is the time of God’s touch. You see, …everything. And in this state, you can execute powerful things. Literally whatever you put your hands to will bring forth fruit. This is the time to plant because when this particular light is present, there is accelerated growth. No such thing as having to wait for “Spring” the time of new beginnings.
So our spiritual Autumn is the time to gather in the crops and fruits. Your harvest is your experience, the results of the work you’ve done, the year you’ve had. When harvesting is done, the fruits of that labor are examined. Defective or damaged ones are thrown away or used for something else, and the pick of the crop is selected and kept. Powerful.
Are you beginning to think on your harvest? Are you happy with your progress this year? What experiences, ideas, activities, or people should be cast off, and what or who should you keep?
If you don’t gather in all of the results of the past three seasons, winter, spring, and summer, (we can dive deeper into those another time), you don’t have an opportunity to examine what has worked for you, what failed and what got damaged. Without taking the time to evaluate your fruit, you cannot plan for your next season and next level. Autumn, the season of reflection, is critical for us.
So let’s get back to the second part of what Fall means, and that is leaves fall. This is also spiritually important as the purpose of leaves are to take in light (Life and Word) to enable the plant to grow, mature, and produce fruit. During that process, water taken in and produced by the plant evaporates from the leaves. So think back to Wiki’s comment of this process being the “necessary cost” for the plant to remain healthy.
It speaks to me this way: We take in the Light and the Word to grow, mature, and bring forth FRUIT. And during the process, we lose Water (spiritual gifts are poured out), evaporating into the air - dispersed. In other words, spread out into the world to do their part.
And since we are spiritual beings, this process isn’t only meant for our spiritual or religious life, the principle applies to our entire life. So, when you move in your creativity, your ideas and your passions, you are functioning in the exact same way.,
When your task, opportunity, assignment is done, you get to harvest and examine the fruit of it, then the leaves fall off. The time has passed for that particular bit of productivity or season. None of this is regulated to quarterly periods as we know it, but rather spiritual seasons of opportunity, growth, fruit-bearing, and gathering in.
For those of you reading this who realize you are close to the end of your particular journey, what are the lessons you can glean from your harvest? Is it a bumper crop or plagued by adversity, sickness, or unforeseen circumstances. What can you salvage from it?
As we enter this time of nesting and preparing to go inward as the cold months arrive where nothing will grow, and everything rests, don’t be afraid to sit with the entirety of your past year and what you produced. Sitting with it doesn’t involve blaming yourself or others. Sitting with it doesn’t mean you only focus on what didn’t work. Spend time with everything. What you loved, what was the most impactful or influential, what you can change going forward, This is how you grow!
So I hope that as we move into the season of pumpkin lattes, the crackle of the fireplace and shorter days that we all use this time to reflect, remember and re-prioritize what is relevant and meaningful. It will be the beginning of a beautiful New Year if you do!