Seasons of change

Is it the Halloween decorations at Costco or the back-to-school notices in the mail? Maybe it’s the subtle feel of the fringe of darkness brushing up against late nights and early mornings. Can you sense it? There is change on the horizon. The seasons are starting to shift again.

With this one comes association and anticipation. They come with any change really, but especially those that we see/smell/sense coming and come again and again, like the seasons.

It’s just amazing how our minds work! They pick up the smallest scrap of information, a sense impression usually, and almost immediately fit it right into a perfectly sized slot in any one of the thickest volumes on our mental shelves. 

With that kind of efficiency, not a moment is wasted. Not a beat is skipped! Not a calorie more than necessary is used to fuel the effort of responding to whatever is afoot. 

The easiest thing to do, of course, is what we always do. Auto-pilot is efficient. The next easiest thing to do is what everyone else is doing. Mirror neurons, specialized brain cells that help us to fit in, make that possible. Going through the motions… it’s how we get through the day. Smooth as silk are the neural pathways that connect me to my kettle in the morning… it’s the easiest thing I do all day. I follow an inner director’s instructions exactly, usually. 

The thing is, this brain/body, higher/lower functions and all, serves a spirit. You can it soul, personality, individuality, life force…. or whatever makes sense to you. Its power and persistence makes it so that we can only “get away with” so much of the thoughts and actions that derive from them that don’t serve its true potential before some comeuppance. Karma is the condition of consequence and we’re all under its influence. It keeps us honest.  

The tension (which can also be understood as strength or integrity) between the spirit, brain, and body is the solution to any of the problems that we perceive. It is our truth.

How to honor the seasons…

In the case of the seasons and the shift that is coming, you can find solace in the liminal space in which we find ourselves now. From this vantage point we have time to prepare! Senses, gateways to the brain/body, can learn to tune in to subtlety before the drama.

The associations and anticipation that may have already been sparked by what you’re seeing/smelling/sensing can light the way towards your script, your director’s instructions, your opportunities and vulnerabilities. Maybe you have a few edits to offer?

You influence your environment. How can you both honor seasons of change by accepting what they have to offer, and, demonstrate commitment to what’s most important, even if it’s not obvious?

It could be something as simple as a candle lighting ritual. You might organize your closet. It could be putting something on your schedule like a trip or a class that that sparks your interest, inspires you, or gets your body out of the regular motions. Use just the right amount of energy to support these efforts and they’ll be easy! 

How? How do we shift gears, drop or raise our seat, adjust our speed and effort in order to glide over the terrain ahead of us? Sometimes it’s a modified expectation, sometimes it’s a compromise. Maybe it’s a buddy up ahead who yells back to us. 

To keep with my biking metaphor: when riding on the trails we’re instructed to pre-ride, re-ride and then free-ride. That means we should go slow the first time and check things out, go again and reinforce awareness of the terrain and its demands. Only then should we let ‘er rip and add speed. 

In short, slow down when approaching something new (including a change in your own habits.) Practice breathing slowly to get your nervous system familiar with the experience.

Ask friends for help! Friends love to help. Generosity is contingent on receptivity, we can all do our part. 

Rest. Without adequate rest, our brain/body is already running behind and using up valuable savings just to keep going. To get to the place where we can be creative and courageous, and have the energy available to do something different (yes, even if it’s just lighting a candle) we need all the help we can get. 

Use all of your senses and ask lots of questions.

Easy seasons too…

Maybe these seasons are easy for you. Even if it’s “easy,” it’s an opportunity for mindfulness, and, evolution. Highlight the insights (thoughts) and actions that you take to move through change easily. Know that these skills and wisdom may help you during other (less easy) changes too. 

Remember, our brains are looking for anything that’s vaguely familiar when deciding what production to commence. Showing yourself the correlation between stress (i.e. change) in a relatively adaptive context will evoke that possibility next time! The folks behind you in line at TSA will thank you. 

These seasons…

Tethering the wayward lines of energy that get whipped around by the summer’s visitors, light, access and opportunities is one of the most helpful ways that I’ve found to settle into the naturally balanced rhythms around the autumnal equinox. 

I take an annual trip with my girlfriends. I celebrate my birthday. I will continue to go to bed and wake up around the same time (this has become too obvious of an “easy button” to eschew.) I’ll spend more time in the hot tub and hikes will get shorter. Before I stopped using intoxicants for good, I might have used the cue to start a monthlong abstention… you get the idea. 

I’m starting a little earlier this year as I anticipate time away later in the fall. I’ve had my clipboard out and have been sketching out my calendar. First… I mark days off, then… travel days. Then… I look for windows of opportunity to share time and space with other souls, committed as I am. 

A special summer series to ease us into fall…

I found nine consecutive weeks in August and September for a midday yoga and meditation practice at the Fairview Recreation Center in Anchorage. If you’ll be here, then… I would love to share space and time with you. It’s the sweetest thing. 

May your path unfold with ease, may you be content and know that you are loved. 


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