GOING INWARD: 6 WAYS TO BENEFIT FROM THE AUTUMNAL SHIFT
Note: This piece originally appeared last year in Stephanie Perkinson's Deeply Rooted eCourse. I thought it would be nice to share it with the rest of the world this time around.
In all my years of writing, I have found it is Autumn that inspires me most. Every year when summer begins to shift into Fall, my heart swells with an cellular longing, and I begin to write. Of course, every season possesses its own special magic; but Autumn is the homecoming, the return to ourselves, the contraction inward after the vast expansion of summer. The rains come, bringing everything back down to earth. The plants cast off their final blossoms and begin preparing for winter, pushing their roots deeper for the season of secret expansion.
In Autumn I feel compelled to clean my house, to clear the cobwebs, to rearrange my furniture. I clear out my closet, and the urge to shed layers comes on strong. It feels different than spring cleaning – to me, it feels essential to prepare my self and my space for the internal growth and processing that begins in Autumn and carries on through winter. It is time for stews and roasted roots, it is time for warmth, for glowing lights, for flames.
It is hard to really ever say where a cycle begins or where it ends – this is the nature of cycles: the end is also the beginning. This is how Autumn feels to me: it is the ending of so much, but it is also the dawn of what is to come. Here are a few ways I choose to really honor this season and to cleanse my house and spirit to prepare for the inward work that comes up at this time. Going deep with the seasonal sway is an opportunity not to be missed, and so I want to make sure I maximize my capacity to participate on the journey.
- Clean Up: This is the time to clean up. It is time to clean the corners of your house – the closets, the windowsills, the rafters. Move your bed and clean behind it, beneath it. It is time to clean up the yard. There will be leaves to rake, and it’s time to help your plants prepare for hibernation: time to cut, time to clear, time to clean. Throw away things that no longer serve you – get rid of old dishtowels and get new ones, pass along any books that you’ve already read and won’t read again.
- Revise your Wardrobe: Like many seasonal changes, this is a great opportunity to trim the excess from your clothing collection. I like to begin a pile by the door and add to it over the course of a week or two. By doing it slowly like this, you won’t rashly get rid of any precious treasures, and watching the pile grow larger will feel ultimately satisfying as you prepare to lose the weight of these possessions and gain the grace of space that is created by letting go. Anything that you don’t love should go. Love it, or leave it.
- Prepare your root cellar: Of course, many of us don’t have an actual root cellar. But if you can, create a nice, cool, dark place to store your nourishing roots for the seasons. A basket in the pantry will do. Whatever it is, clean it up, dust it out, and fill it with yummy things from the garden or your local market. This way, no matter what is in the fridge, you will always have something on hand to roast and something to feed your loved ones.
- Change your sheets: I know, I know. We change our sheets often. However, in the Fall, I like to change it up entirely. I bring out my seasonal sheets, the ones that keep me warmer when it’s colder and have a richness in color that I don’t need in the summer. If you don’t have seasonal bedding, I highly encourage you to get some. It’s an indulgence that I fully support as it nourishes your body, home and spirit.
- Clear your clutter: This goes along with cleaning up, but check your desk, kitchen, and tabletops for things that don’t belong. Clear all the cluttered corners so that anything you need to work on can happen easily and flow without obstruction. Think about moving things to new places, as this can free up energy in a very significant way and even change your life in unexpected places. Not sitting at your workspace enough? Clear it up and move it somewhere else. Not sleeping well? Clear out your bedroom and change it up a bit. Help the stuck energy get un-stuck and feel your heart expand as a result.
- Breathe it in: Yep – go outside. Whether it’s just a cup of tea on the porch or a daily walk, breathing in the air during this time of change can be a powerful way to tune into the shift. It activates our senses as well as the ancient memories buried in our bodies and DNA. Notice which time of day reveals the most secrets to your inner self and let the magic happen.