I love these lazy late summer days. Our garden is full of yumminess to harvest, the last blooms are expressing their beauty, and my heart feels full from the memories of our adventures and time spent connecting with friends and family. We have one last hurrah camping planned and then the transition from the free flow of summer to the more structured routines of fall will be upon us.
As we move into September, it always feels like the start of a new year to me and has me evaluating…How do I want to spend my time and energy? What do I value, what inspires me most deeply, and what replenishes and nourishes me?
Sitting on my deck and reflecting, I’m feeling tremendously touched by observing nature. Nothing is static or fixed. Everything is in process and changing, and certainly the movement of seasons highlights this truth.
“Impermanence is a principle of harmony. When we don’t struggle against it, we are in harmony with reality.”
I read these words by Pema Chodron today in a newsletter from the wonderful Helga Beer Yoga Studio where I teach my Monthly Mindfulness Sessions. It’s not always comfortable but this has become the rudder of my practice…noticing where I’m holding on, becoming aware of when I’m adding something ‘extra’, and being curious about seeing that which I’m not seeing.
The Rose of Sharon blossom in this blog photo is a tender example of impermanence. We planted it in our garden some years ago to honour an embryo that wasn’t meant to be and then soon after nourished its roots with the ashes of a most beloved fur friend. Witnessing the cycling of this plant through the seasons (and all of my accompanying emotions) has been so healing. It’s all just nature. The growth, blossoms, decay and dormancy. The grief, anger, joy and love. Simply the full expression of being human and attuning to these rhythms feels tender and raw and beautiful. Thank goodness for being connected to my heart and to this earth and to LIFE!
As we enter this time of transition, here are some guiding principles to consider for supporting your well-being:
- Be present
You might choose to participate in a Mindful 30day Challenge online or join a Monthly Mindfulness Session in person with me. The support of community is powerful. Being fully awake in each moment is always available and possible though…no need to reserve this just for sitting on a cushion or when conditions are ‘perfect’. Mindfulness can be incorporated into everyday moments, like noticing the contact of your feet on the floor while waiting in a grocery line or the sensations of 3 breaths while stopped at a red light while driving.
As an example, I bring this intentional practice to my workday by noticing the touch of the door handle as I enter a treatment room. Each and every time. This reminder that I’m crossing a threshold allows me to be fully present, available and to deeply listen to each of my patients. It’s a simple practice but when you thread more and more of these moments together, it becomes life changing.
- Be connected
Prioritize relationships that are important and feel nourishing. We are hard wired for connection and our brains are happier when we share moments with others. Connection with nature is also so tremendously healing. Rather than pulling out your phone in a moment of pause, try spending a brief moment noticing the clouds or the movement of the wind in the tress or the passage of birds in the sky. This simple act of attunement connects us more deeply within ourselves and also our interconnection with everything.
- Be simple
If you’re like me, it’s really (really!) easy to be busy. I saw a bumper sticker once that said “Stop the glorification of busy” and it’s so true. Our current culture praises and admires busyness as a badge of honour. I’ve been reflecting though…is being pulled in every direction where I find my deepest happiness? By default, I can be more of a human doer than a human being. This summer we enjoyed lots and lots of days where there was nothing planned, absolutely nothing at all, and it was glorious. We all loved it so much that we’re going to carry the wisdom of ‘less is more’ forward into the fall and not overload our schedules. Unstructured free time feels so precious and the simplicity of just being together is truly beautiful. This moment is enough.