Autumn rituals – an invitation to partake in releasing the old

Sitting at my desk (bed) replaying last month on loop: chicnics (chic picnics) on the freshly mowed green grass, underneath the shade of Aesculus hippocastanum trees in the company of a bunch of socially-distancing folks in really short shorts and skirts… But yes, that was last month.

Autumn gently coming in

I cannot stop admiring how things are in nature. Unhurried, yet constantly changing. When I look out the window, the gable green leaves now display a brownish-yellow hue. There are less people chilling on the lawn outside, except for dog walkers. The latter are covered from head to toes in layers and layers of clothing. You’ve guessed, it’s autumn, but it’s also England, it get a lot colder quicker here 🙈.

Here we are. Transitioning… from summer to autumn.

Transitions can be painful – even when they’re exciting – often involving a certain amount of grief as we part with ‘the old’. The old can be intoxicatingly comfortable, and yet may prevent further growth. While not everything needs to go, things that are holding us back need to be shed for they have fulfilled their purpose in the same way leaves fall off their branches to bless us with a leaf-strewn but magical golden pathway as their legacy. The magic, the dazzling, the light, all this happens when we undergo the ‘darkness’. The shedding, the letting go, the releasing.

With the days getting shorter here, I’m encouraged to take stock of my own life up to this present moment. I want to invite you to do the same.

standing barefoot with autumn leaves on the fresh grass

Releasing autumn rituals: paving the golden pathway

I like a good ceremony in all things.

As a nomad on this planet, this helps me begin or end things, commemorate milestones, and keep track of various adventures and life lessons. In my opinion, nothing says ‘ceremony’ or ‘celebration’ as much as rituals do. That’s why I hold them dear & share them with you here below. Ready to walk onto the (golden) pathway?

1.Letting light in

In this season, you may sense grief or regret come up. It’s natural as these are the emotions associated with autumn. As nature does its thing in shedding light to past losses, why not take this time to turn inward? Gently face these, by revisiting the past briefly and then graciously watching them go into the mist of memories.

On a more practical level, light candles to bring the light in. Let that light warm you within as much as it cosies up your living space. Warmth, can make you feel connected, reassured, wrapped with love and any feelings of sadness you feel will dissipate.

This has to be my favourite autumn rituals! There’s only one candle in my new nest now, but I intend to get more.

2.honouring the harvest

There’s an abundance of fruits and vegetables in autumn. It’s harvest time – not only in nature but also in your life.

Honour the harvest in different ways using these autumn rituals.

Firstly, nourish your body with the seasonal bounty. Maybe you can forage for some berries, fungi, or apples, depending where you live. Or simply enjoy the harvest from local farmers or buy from your greengrocers.

Secondly, honour the harvest in your own life.

Think of projects you’ve started in the beginning of spring that have now either come to completion or paid off. Maybe you finished a product (or novel?), or a business action plan. Perhaps you received the first payments from clients after such hard work. You deserve it and it’s time now to celebrate and enjoy what you have.

And as you bask, content with all you’ve accomplished, may you allow yourself to slow down. That too, you deserve. Beyond the grit you’ve shown, it’s the right thing to do. It’s key during this time to preserve your energy before the winter months set in.

cultivate body and mind

In Chinese medicine, it is believed that autumn is ideal to cultivate body and mind by way of introspection. Turn inward, similar to the contracting nature of this season. Now, let’s be clear that because you’re introspecting more, it doesn’t mean you don’t go outside at all. By all means, do! When you do, ensure it’s gentle, and that you’re covering up warmly and preserving your energy.

This means nourishing habits like breathing deeply, letting go of negativity and making sure your boundaries are protecting your energy. Find ways to connect with nature. Pay attention to the birds in your surroundings, make a bird feeder, or leave them some seeds.

It is also the perfect time to begin a new hobby or project. Remember to find that which allows you to slow down, like a walk into the woodlands (ideal for forest bathing). You can also reorganise your wardrobe or a room (let go of ‘the old’). Practice watercolour painting, knitting, candle-making… There are many autumn rituals as long as you focus on what nourishes you, connects you with nature, and allows you to release anything you want to leave behind.

Allow for rebirth (the old has to pass)

It is natural to feel a bit sad when you do these autumn rituals, or a bit melancholic. Remember that this is the joy that autumn brings – it is time for change. It is time to let go of anything that has fulfilled their purpose in your life. Release with ease.

The old might have taught you an important lesson, or stretched you, or tested you. Know that you are being refined, and now it’s time for your rebirth – to welcome in the new, to make room for all the good things that continue to come your way. For this to happen, it’s important to surrender to the art of shedding, in our own lives, just as the leaves will fall off their branches for the trees to have a brand new green coat months later.

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