Like so many others: I have been thinking about the topic of BEING, being a human, what constitutes gratitude, gratitude verses happiness, what the nation is going through, what we as a people stand for, what I as a person want to stand for, what makes me proud and what brings emotions of happiness/sadness, elation or pain. Brain exhausting.
Like so many others: I am clear I have a lot to be grateful for. The glass is full-no matter if it is filled with air, water, emotions, or things, there IS something in there-the empty is if I let it be. I know all that. (I don’t always remember it, but I DO know it to be true.)
We are our thoughts, our actions in many ways define our beings. The world feels particularly chaotic these days, spinning at an uncontrolled speed. Those are two, what I would call, facts. I hope the collective ‘we’, and more personally I/myself, will always be searching, asking questions and concerned about the big picture. At times I am not clear of what I am searching for? Searching for the next human element of that day? Searching for answers? Searching even for the question at times! Searching for the next path. Searching for the next idea. Many of the questions never end, and I suppose that’s a good thing. Somedays it works out better than others. That’s just life.
As we enter the week of Thanksgiving here in N. America, I circle back around to the first sentence of this post. I sit here thinking about what it means to “be”- to be a human, a family member, a co-worker, a friend, a blog writer, a woman with unsolved questions (like us all I assume.) A woman with many things I hope to be able to do/accomplish in the upcoming year(s.) However, right now I am simply a person who just wants to get through the next month of “holidays” without too much frenzy, muss and fuss, and try to experience the joy and wonder that is supposed to be around the next six weeks or so. In truth-not my favorite time of year-but time marches on, and once again, here we go prancing, dancing, and dining into “The Holidays!”
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It’s hard for me not to feel a bit powerless in the grand scheme of things these days. Indeed, the weather is beyond our control. The hurricanes/tornados have caused much destruction, and it will be a long time for those places to return to their ‘normal.’ Politics are creating havoc worldwide. There we may have a little bit of power-if we collectively speak out things can happen and we can make a difference. Grassroots has resurfaced with a vengeance (thank goodness), and many people are working very hard. Thanks to every one of them.
There are always personal changes that affect our days. Some are good and remind us of the kindness of strangers, and some are less so. We lose people whether it be to death, changes in our relationships or just shifts in our realities. These can be painful. We also get to add people, and that is a bonus, new people help to broaden our exposures and experiences. At times we change our minds, or those around us do-all require flexibility to bend, turn, ebb and flow. Little changes can add up and equal an enormous shift. Life can change on a dime, and we often don’t know what’s to come. The most active resource we regularly have is our own strength and the personal choice to keep on going. We have to believe in ourselves and that we can do ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ may be.)
Fall is full of intentions-Fall clean ups, crisp air to breath, the stifling summer heat is all but gone (but so is what we frivolously call the carefree days of summer.) We just passed the fall equinox and solstice, where day and night were equal. Thursday night marks the closest full moon to the fall equinox.
According to National Geographic-“In the Northern Hemisphere, the harvest moon is the closest full moon to the fall equinox, which usually happens on or around September 22. That means the harvest moon usually occurs in September. But this year, the September full moon appeared on the 6th, separating it from the fall equinox by 16 days. The October 5 full moon arrives only 13 days after the fall equinox, making it the closer pairing…Over the course of a year, the moon pops above the horizon about 50 minutes later each day, on average.
But for several days in a row around the fall equinox, the moon rises only about 30 minutes later in the northern U.S. and just 10 to 20 minutes later in much of Canada and Europe. It sounds like a small shift, but it brings noticeably brighter nights: During this time, the full moon rises almost as soon as the sun sets, first appearing as a plump, orange-colored orb right around dusk.” http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/10/when-is-harvest-moon-october-space-science/
I repeat – During this time, the full moon rises almost as soon as the sun sets. In today’s world it feels like very little is equal. All the more reason to keep looking forward, try to shine, and believe in the power of yourself.
It happens to be Daylight Savings time this weekend. However, that is not really why I am writing about time. It just coincided perfectly.
It’s natural as we get older to think of time with more respect than in our younger days. The real difference now is that I am very aware of the use of my time and how it is divvied up. I am careful, and conscious, of whom, what, when and where gets my very precious time. There are surely many things, and actions, which are “have to’s” and some even overlap into the “want to’s” that must occur and use up some of my time. The top of my personal list, for my desire of how I want to use my time these days, is to spend time with the people I really want to. I sqeeze in the other “good stuff” I love to do as well…and then I squeeze some more into the mix with the “have to’s”..Right now, I am of the belief system that my inner circle, i.e. the friends/family that truly matter in the long run, are amongst the more important uses of large chunks of my time. No, if you are wondering, or worried, that something awful has happened to my health, the answer is thankfully no. However, I am acutly aware of how tenuous that can be, as dear friends, and extended family, are not all so lucky. So—spend time with those your love, those you want to be with, and those that make you happy. While your there, let them know that they are important. Time can indeed slip away in the blink of an eye…
Live in the Today. Be present. If not now-when?…
and of course “Be here now”-Ram Dass
Here in my little corner of New England the leaves are close to peak, and indeed it is beautiful to see. Fall is in full swing with all its transformations. I have been thinking about the change of seasons and all that entails, both externally in the natural world and internally to us as human beings. In the ancient Taoism/Daoism seasons, we are in the season of Gathering and these three months of autumn are about Containment and Balance. It’s the time to draw our energies inward. Now (not January 1st) is the time to start laying down the paths for a healthy and happy new/next year. “It is time to still our hearts and minds and to gather and collect the spirit and the qi 氣 (energy).” (further reading) … so, how does this fit into my mind, to our everyday lives?
Are you ready? Ready for change? Ready for a new season/year that is quickly approaching? Ready for an open mind? Ready for a new whatever it may that you might be seeking? Look around yourself NOW. Temps are falling. Light is dwindling. Flowers are fading. Trees are having one last glorious blast and then letting their grandeur drop to the ground. Nature is preparing to go dormant for a winters rest. It is a time of gathering nutrients and strength for a rejuvenation that pops in the spring. The ever so obvious natural message to us is: We too need to let go, drop our leaves, let go of what ever we have been carrying/holding that is no longer of use, or beneficial, to ourselves. (So we are back to one of my recurring themes of letting go.) In the above referenced article it reminds me that “BREATHING is a very powerful way to let go of our tension, whether it is physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. It is one of the primary cycles of yin and yang in the body. Having inhaled we must let go of it before we can take any more in.” I like that, it resonates with me. If your lungs, mind, bodies, heart, are filled with the “unneeded,” maybe its old dusty air, or “bad”/ugly/painful/sad thoughts, or maybe it’s just plain old unhealthy air/thoughts/actions/patterns, how can that possible be good to hold inside? Mind you, I am not saying it is a piece of cake and all you have to do is breath deep and exhale all the “crap” we all collect right out of our cells. If only it were that easy!
However, all this does tie into another topic I often think about these days that is called “mindfulness.” To me mindfulness is much like awareness but with an extra dose of consciousness. It seems that with awareness you notice, and hopefully make a note of whatever “it” is. With mindfulness you have awareness combined with additional thinking, and hopefully acting upon the thoughts, from your awareness. Make sense? The yin and yang of life….Let in (how about WELCOME IN) the good, breath out the unneeded, the painful parts that are holding you back. Gather yourself up, let go of the frenetic (although often full of fun) summer energies, unfortunately we lose that summer warmth as well (now we have to recreate that artificially.) Calm down those long list of “things I should do” that pop up so often in the fall. Start gathering that which nourishes you and strengthens you. Small moves in perceptions, actions, can make for enormous changes later. Do it now, while they are tiny, this keeps some of the drastic melodramatic changes away and so a smoother road ahead. And really, do you want those big rough bumps on your road? Most of us do not. “Chart the difficult when it is easy, act on the great when it is tiny.” … “Act when something has not yet come to be, regulate when it is not yet disordered.” (Laozi chapter 63 and Chapter 64.) Again, as I sit here writing, I think, if only all, or even part, of this all was easy!
You may be thinking, wondering why the title of this posting? Falling leaves—it’s about letting go. Slippery Leaves—that one makes me smile. It’s a phrase that came to be a gazillion moons ago with a group of very good friends. We were doing our usual hanging out. It was in the fall season with indeed slippery wet leaves all around us. Someone stating the obvious said, “Watch out for the slippery leaves” (I think we were walking?) The response was something like, “Hmm, think so? I think I had figured that out all by myself!” It was not snide, mean, or an unfriendly response. I think we all burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of stating the ever so clear fact. It has become a phrase in my personal lexicon that has transpired a bit and come to mean generically, watch out for the obvious. It can be physical, mental, intellectual, emotional, it doesn’t matter, we often do see, and know the obvious BUT, we also sometimes MISS the obvious—and occasionally our friends do have to help…mindfulness is key.
So, in this season of transformations, let go of what you don’t need and be mindful of all those slippery leaves!