(Re-posted by popular demand)
Autumn ~ crisp, cool nights and pleasant days; vibrant red, yellow, orange and rust; a hot cup of tea and a cozy fire; a good book and the call of Canada geese. These are autumn changes and they fill me with peace and joy. As Henry David Thoreau said, “Only that day dawns to which we are awake.” It is time to wake up and look around; we are in the midst of change.
As I venture forth in the New England countryside during this time of year, I am amazed at the power of nature. It has the ability to heal, to provide rest and rejuvenation, and the courage to burst forth with a new color scheme. Autumn is eloquently a part of the circle of life. I stop for a moment and ponder my own circle of life. What changes have I made this past year, and do I have the courage to change some more?
Life is a journey, a journey to enjoy. I am going to embark on a journey right now. Do you have the courage to come along? I hope so and I hope this journey will be a catalyst for change for you and for me.
The journey of change…
Let’s park the car, get out and walk awhile. The sun is bright and nicely warming the day. The air is fresh. It is time to put on our hiking boots. The ground is uneven and slick with the morning dew. In the early morning chill we wear a cozy sweatshirt. Grab the backpack and let’s go!
Choosing a path…
Shall we go this way or that way? Shall we choose our own path or follow someone’s footsteps? You decide. Sometimes it is easier to travel down a trail blazed and well worn; other times it is best to choose a new direction. Let’s stop for a moment and think about what we are seeking. Do we want to climb the mountain and enjoy the autumn scenery from the top–a mountaintop experience? Or, do we want to tread the serene valley along the meandering brook? Are we looking for peace and solitude or do we need the company of fellow hikers?
Do you have the courage to choose the route?
Enjoy the moments…
As we tread along, we must be conscious of where we place our feet. The trail is uneven with rocks and exposed roots that have a tendency to trip us if we are not attentive. Periodically we need to stop, take in a lungful of fresh air and absorb the vista. We need to experience the harmony of nature around us. It is a simple pleasure to watch the chipmunks scurry among the rocks, lose our thoughts at the edge of a waterfall, or breathe in the scents of the pine grove. Take a deep breath... Ah, wonderful autumn air!
Let's think for a moment about life and side journeys along the way. Too often, we focus on where we are placing our feet and fail to recognize the peaceful surroundings. Too often, we spend a great deal of time taking care of all our stuff, our successes of the past and choices for the future and forget to look around at life’s treasures of the moment. Too often, we go through each day doing things by rote without even thinking about why we are doing them. We repeat old habits, get the same results and wonder why. Too often, we fail to take the time to nourish our soul. Too often, we miss golden opportunities.
If we do not slow the pace, we will miss the small blue flowers cascading over the ledges. We will miss the call of the birds high in the branches. We will miss the brilliant autumn display. What was the point of this journey, anyway? We need to remember that it is the process, not the destination that is important.
Do you have the courage to slow down?
The simple life…
As we journey along our chosen pathway, we begin to notice the tension deep within the body dissipate gradually. We relax and breathe deeper, transferring oxygen into our body's cells. We feel a sense of peace. Little by little our attitude changes and a smile spreads slowly across our face.
Think for a moment about your daily schedule, the rat race on the highways, the pressures of success, chaos, clutter and confusion. Do you feel your shoulders tightening and your breathing become more rapid and shallow? Now come back to our autumn journey and relax. Life is simpler here.
Our journey continues and we travel through the thick wooded areas. We are glad that we remembered to bring our sweatshirt as it provides warmth in the coolness of the forest. Later in the day we notice light filtering through the trees. It is time to sit in a patch of sunlight savoring the warmth; the sweatshirt no longer needed. As we stash it away in the backpack, we retrieve a bottle of water and a nourishing snack. We packed well; we have what we need.
Do you have the courage to lighten your load?
A journey of choices and changes…
As we walk along harmoniously with nature, I would like to pose another question for you to ponder. What choices and what changes could you make that would free you from your daily stress? Pick just one change and try it out. Do not rush the process. Take it one-step at a time. Do you remember the story about the hare and tortoise? Slow steady steps win the race.
When I am working with clients who have the massive goal of organizing their whole life, the first thing I want them to understand is that one small change yields huge benefits. After all, in the autumn the leaves start to change gradually – a spot of red here and there, a blend of yellow and orange in the midst of green. Nature teaches us that gradual changes are the easiest to bear.
Do you have the courage to make small changes?
Our autumn journey has ended, but your journey has just begun. Here are a few thoughts to take along with you.
- Take a friend ~ It is much easier to share the burdens and more fun to share the joys. The beauty of a rainbow is more spectacular when someone shares it with you.
- Organize your supplies ~ If the sun is shining you may not need the umbrella. However, do remember to take the sweatshirt, nourishment and water. It is important to provide for your physical, emotional and mental needs.
- Vary the pace ~ There is a time to hurry along and a time to slow down. Knowing when to stop is as important as when to begin.
- Take along a map or ask for directions ~ You don’t want to tackle an unknown trail without some guidance. Seek out tips on how to make your journey safer and easier.
- Change gradually ~ Over the years you have accumulated a lot of stuff. Learn to let go of a few things until you reach the point where life is manageable.
- Take a rest ~ Brief rest stops along the journey will recharge your battery as well as give you an opportunity to enjoy your immediate surroundings. While you are resting, contemplate your purpose in life. Gaze inward, for that is where all the answers lie.
- Choose the simple life ~ Simple living is finding and keeping adequate space and time for yourself, for those you love, for the place you live and for the work you do.
- Pack wisely ~ Do you have all you need? Do you need all you have?
- Keep your heart light ~ Learn the value of laughter. It makes a world of difference.
- Do you have the courage to change?
If you are interested in more information on the attitudes of living a simple life and the power of organizing your environment, please contact me. Click Here to send me an email.