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Fall Into The Spirit of Autumn

Written by Pat Sullivan

   
   

Summer ends and Fall begins. Let nature's changing colors be your guide to personal transformation.

Our Jewish friends have it right with Rosh Hashanah. Autumn is the most natural time to end one year and begin another.

Now it's time to empty our pockets to symbolize releasing old cares. Now it's time to dip apples into sweet honey and celebrate our gratitude for the year that is passing.

More ways to celebrate fall:
Recall your favorite memories of fall and share them with a friend or family member.
Take a silent walk in nature. Practice mindful walking and breathing so you are as present to the moment as possible.
Learn how to compost food scraps and lawn clippings so you can be part of the ongoing process of natural recycling.
Go to a local nature center and learn how the plants and animals in your bioregion change in autumn.

As summer's beauty begins to shrivel and die, fall reminds us that transformation begins with letting go and letting go can be glorious.

My sister Peggy Printz likes to think of fall in a different light. "When I fall," she says, "it's another reminder to be more grounded and attentive."

She tells the story of a friend with cerebral palsy who picks herself up daily from some pretty nasty falls. "She's teaching me to accept that living means tumbling sometimes. When we know we're about to fall it's not time brace ourselves, but to embrace the fall."

For my sister, autumn leaves symbolize a willingness to fall and to be transformed.

In earlier times, fall was also the time to finish preserving the harvest. There were jams and jellies to be made, nuts and root crops to be stored. There was land to be prepared for the fallow time.

Though most of us now are city dwellers, we can benefit greatly from nature-based rituals for autumn. Here's one I created 25 years ago that works equally well for individuals or groups.

Hold a leaf and meditate on what in your life is ready for release. Pray for courage and guidance and then place the leaf on an altar until you are ready for your transformation. When the spirit calls you, either return the leaf to the earth and contemplate how nature recycles what it no longer needs, or burn it and celebrate the liberation of spirit from its old form.

You can also hold an apple to honor the passing year. After contemplating the paths and attitudes you need to continue, eat the apple. As you savor your gratitude you also symbolically strengthen yourself for the year to come.

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