Each autumn, as the leaves change colors and the days get cooler, something happens. It catches me off guard every year. Fall seems to be mysterious and magical in the way that it can make me feel so inspired and somber at the same time. I always feel the yearning for reflection, solitude and retreating. I read today that "fall is a season of balancing light and dark, letting go and accepting the impermanence of things." The crimsons and golds that decorate the tree lines seem to offer a kind of joy only possible this time of year. The adventures associated with time outside and harvest holidays are something I start looking forward to as soon as they pass. Halloween costumes, cider, backyard fires, fall photography road trips...it's a wonderful time. Yet there is a constant nagging that seems to tell me to slow down, pay attention, savor ordinary moments, let go of what doesn't matter and be grateful.
This time of year, I do take time to write more, read more, hike more. This morning, I stood by the window and gazed at the moon over the yellow and orange trees in the yard for several minutes. Rarely do I gaze at anything for several minutes. I tend to be quite the fidgety person, always on to the next thing! What a beautiful few moments. How wonder-filled life would be if I took more time to do just that- to gaze at birds and flowers and sunsets and mountain peaks and bugs and clouds.
Do you find these same thoughts bubbling to the surface of your mind this time of year? Do you experience a craving for more wonder, more joy or more adventure? Do you feel the need to retreat or withdraw to nourish and tend to both the light and the dark parts of your being? Do you find yourself struggling with letting go of ideas, people or things that don't serve you any longer?
I picked today to launch this blog for a reason. In Celtic traditions, November 1 was considered a New Year, technically starting at sundown on October 31. It was a time to honor the balance of darkness and light, day and night, cold and heat, life and death. It was a time of feast, ritual, reflection and magic. Celebrate Your Existence is all about those things! In true New Year's fashion, I have set the intention to add more feast, ritual, reflection and magic to my life and hope that the happenings of this group and the musings featured on this blog will do the same for your life. Let us all enjoy a life full of Joy, Wonder and Adventure!
Here are a few ideas for celebrating this magical time of year and this symbolic day:
1. Letting Go Fire Ritual. Fire is a great way to celebrate; we already incorporate fire into our holiday celebrations in the form of birthday candles and fireworks. Today, take time to think about the things in your life you would like to let go of-from toxic relationships to fear and negative thinking. Think about tangibles and intangibles. Sometimes it can be liberating to get rid of actual "stuff" that clutters our space. Make a list of these things on paper. Build a special fire for this occasion. It may be special because of where you build it or you could just pay special attention to the process of building the fire and express your gratitude for the sticks, twigs and leaves that make it possible. Pull or cut your list apart, and then burn each word or phrase one at a time, releasing it into the fire, allowing it to turn to smoke and ash. I like to imagine I am connecting to goddess-energy releasing worries and negativity into a loving Universe that is attentive and aware of my hopes, dreams and desires. You can add a prayer or meditation to the end or a ritual from your own spiritual or religious path.
2. Have Some Magical Fun. Many believe that fairies and spirits run free the few days around Halloween. It can be a fun time to indulge in some old traditions as a way to play and dance with the magic of the season. Sometimes it can feel a little goofy but isn't that what makes costuming fun?! Here are a few spirited ideas: mop floors with basil steeped water to wash away negativity; partake in the ancient tradition of sage smudging and rid your home of any unwanted energy or spirits; leave a gift of bread or cake for the fairies in the garden. Use your imagination.
3. Take a Wordless Walk. Take some time to walk outdoors today. Feel free to bring a friend, but explain the activity to your friend. Wordless walks offer the opportunity to notice things we usually miss because we are rushed, talking or not paying attention. Wordless walks are mindful and reflective, usually void of any verbal communication from start to finish. Instead of a power walk, it's more of wandering along a path just seeing what shows up. Feel free to take your camera to capture unexpected gifts along the trail. If you do take a friend, take some time afterwards to sip some cider, coffee or cocoa and reflect on your experience.