Today the Sun rises due East and sets due West creating equal parts of night and day on the Planet Earth, our home. The days in the North are growing darker and colder from this day forth. The butter is no longer kept soft by the warmth of the day. Honey starts to crystalize, and no longer can we leave the windows wide open all night long, well at least not all of them. Been feeling the shifts and changes coming for a couple of weeks now, and this morning at 7:20 PDT, the moment of supreme balance had arrived. At that moment, I woke up from a fun and rather crazy dream. Vivid and clear, some kind of wacky symbolic sign to arouse me on the first day of Autumn.
When I used to live in more southern climes, Autumn was the only season I could recognize other than the perpetual spring/summer that filled most days. When the thermometer fell below 70, I thought it was cold, and put my car coat on and walked around town with my friends, barefoot. Even now I hear my friends down south talk about it getting colder. Only when I moved home to Oregon did I really understand what it felt like to live with four seasons, year after year. At first a novelty, the change of seasons are now a way of life.
To prepare for Autumn and its journey into Winter, I’ve made some plans. Having just finished the second revision on my latest book, I have a little breather in between writing the book and preparing it for publication. Instead of jumping right into writing something new, I’ve taken some time to catch up with rest, clean the house up, and spend time getting myself out of the daily patterns required for a big writing project. I signed up for an art class, allowing myself one full day to engage in something that takes me away from words. I’ve helped organize an authors’ book fair for mid-January, and I’ve taken a couple of long drives to find some hiking and photography spots. Pondering some changes including getting myself some office space to use part time for seeing clients. Added another yoga and meditation class to my schedule, and will move into the exploration of Southern Washington’s coast and coastal mountains and streams. Starting up a dream group again, and looking for ways to explore both inside and outside as the Autumn begins.
A writer’s life is only as good as the real life we lead. Though we may not love the extroverted lifestyle so much (though many writers do), we still need to allow ourselves to get out and get involved. “Mingle, mingle” and help out when you can. Get out where you can hear what’s going on. Listen to what others are saying about their lives and views. Our virtual lives are helpful, but we need to move and touch the ground of our being in the world beyond the screens. Walking along the river, highway, backroads, or hilltops, gives us much of the material we then use to create other realities. Or it gives us a different perspective or at least makes us aware of how differently we all look at the same scene. All this goes into how we create characters who have more depth and interest than a simple stereotypical type. Sitting in cafes, train or bus stations, airports, markets, or shops, we get in touch with daily life and the broad range of movement, activity, and humanity that lives near us.
Reading is another way to explore, and Autumn and Winter both provide us scads of time to get lost in reading. Whether you read fiction, poetry, prose, or genre works, or spend your time researching one topic or another, the world is found on the page as well. We can travel through time and space or move back into a historical moment or fantastic new place in time. We can sit with great artists, writers, or the most debauched of criminals, to dig into their minds and motivations. We can learn of the plight of those whose lives do not seem to intersect our own, and we can grow in compassion and empathy. Reading is one way we can explore and learn and expand our minds and broaden our understanding of our place in history, the way the world works, or how we came into being. We can look into the minds, philosophies, experiences, and conditions of those who’ve come before us. And we can grow. We can be inspired or touched. We can deepen. We can become richer and deeper in being.
Silence and quiet seem more present in the darker times of the year. Spring announces itself in early morning bird chatter and song. Summer gets noisy and blustery, and full of loud engines revving up outside, and shouting and laughter that signal a more heated and outside kind of life. Autumn comes on quietly. Last night as we began meditation, the sky was still full of light. By the end of the session, we opened our eyes and found ourselves in the dark…the immediate effect of dark often is calm and quiet . A slowing down of life. We no longer feel the need to keep going. To keep getting things done. It’s a time when, if we pay heed, we begin to listen to that inner voice that tells us what we need more of and what we no longer have the desire to push ourselves towards.
Autumn is also a time when deep brooding and inner nurturing begin. The seeds of new thoughts, the dreams of passion, and the urges that drive us to create, love, and live more fully, awaken in us. Listen to the inner voices. Watch for the images that arise right now. Notice the simple and subtle transitions inside you, and in your daily life. One of my favorite people, a former student, Katherine, introduced me to a practice years ago. At this time of the year instead of jumping out of bed and turning on the lights, she began the day by lighting one candle. She let her day begin more slowly and consciously. She began by reflecting, praying, meditating, or simply entering her thoughts and dreams into her handwritten journal. By intentionally changing a simple routine, we change our entire experience of living. We slow our pace. We learn how to become more mindful and present, and we allow ourselves to be more attuned to ourselves and the world in which we live. The Creation we are helping create.
As Autumn begins, find ways to deepen your experience of noticing how you walk on the Earth. Become more mindful and present of how your pace and tone and energy impact others and yourself. Let yourself feel the surge of connection with the beautiful elements of Earth that surround and fill you, and find the Divinity of life in each sacred moment, by creating sacred time in the way you live, in the way you create, and in the way you listen to the beating of your heart and that of our Earth.