Each year we all experience some form of autumn. Here in the beautiful NW where I live, the fall is a burst of color and a flurry of activity before the cold sets in. Each year I take a moment in the fall to consider what I have learned, what I can harvest (gain from this learning) and what I can release like the trees do with their leaves.
I encourage you to set some time aside for yourself this fall to ask yourself these questions and take the time to honor all the hard work you've put into becoming who you are. Even the challenges or "negative" experiences can provide valuable learning. Some negative experiences need special care and attention, so be gentle with yourself and offer lots of compassion to the painful learning experiences. Acknowledge your accomplishments no matter how small. Even acknowledge things you think any adult "should" be able to do and release self-defeat about your failures. Harvest what you need to get through the coming darkness and release all that is weighing you down.
Here is an activity you can practice at any time of year, but challenge yourself to make it a fall-time ritual so that you can remember to do it regularly:
- 1. Without thinking, allow your stream of consciousness to write a list of all the things you have manifested with your life energy this year. Examples could be: "I got a job," "I passed my classes," "I initiated a hard conversation with so-and-so," or "I avoided doing my finances," "I didn't get the position I wanted," "I stopped exercising regularly." The goal is to acknowledge a spectrum of things that you have created in your life this year.
- 2. Consider how each of these things make you feel. Write down the feelings next to the item. Perhaps there is something on the list that brings up mixed or uncomfortable feelings. Perhaps there is something about that accomplishment that can be harvested and a part that must be released. For example "I didn't get the position I wanted," could bring up feelings like "sadness" and "disappointment" as well as "curiosity" and "freedom to explore."
- 3. Look at your list. Check that there is a wide spectrum of emotions present. If there are more "lows" than "highs," challenge yourself to consider more highs.
- 4. Get some sort of colored medium, colored pencils, crayons, paints, etc. Choose a color for things that you want to harvest (i.e. orange, yellow, green), a color for things that you want to release (i.e. red, brown, grey) and a color for the things that you want to explore or consider more (i.e. purple, blue, silver). Go through each item and color it accordingly.
- 5. You may wish to complete this exercise by doing something physically expressing like saying out loud "I release the shame of not exercising more," and making a motion with your hands as if you're taking that shame right out of your body. Perhaps you want to sing, shout, dance. Or perhaps you want to cut out the items you want to harvest and make them into a collage while burning the ones you wish to release. Get creative and do whatever feels natural for you to harvest (embody) or release (let go of) any of these items. It's up to you.
Whatever process you choose in creating special autumn time for yourself, be sure that you include an element of self-love and gratitude so that you continue to cultivate that skill and turn it into a habit. It will become the Harvest time gift that keeps on giving!