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How many years, in October, like clockwork, can a person proclaim she doesn’t like fall?

I know, I know. You’re going to ask me why. Why have I not fallen in love with your favorite season? You’re going to tell me how much you love Pumpkin Spice Lattes (nope, don’t like them), and chilly mornings (nope, not ready for them), and how you cannot wait for the snow that comes after autumn (nope, nope, and nope). I get it. You love fall.

If I could have two springs and two summers a year, I would be a happy girl.

There have been years where I did my best to embrace the change of season, where I allowed myself to be in awe of the beauty of trees ready to let go and shed their layers. But this year the chill came much too soon and the light began to fade much too early.

I feel the change in the air. I know it has arrived, and I am not ready.

I’m working on this.

But then I kept seeing this in my social media feeds.

 

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And this changed everything.

It’s a reminder of my mantra this year. Let go of what no longer serves you.

And so I do.  Just like the trees.

xo, with goodness and grace.

 

Life is funny, I often think to myself.

We create these lives for ourselves, ones that make sense on paper and look pretty amazing to people around you. You meet people and tell them what you do and where you live and all the things you think add up to who you are, and they are so impressed and pleased with you. So it’s easy to think you are pleased with yourself, too.

And then something (or a series of somethings) happens that rocks you, unearthing the certainty with which you’d been living your life. Or, at least, the supposed certainty. Deep down you knew it really served as a mask for all the things you didn’t want to own up to, those whispers you know at your core to be the truth.

But you ignore them anyway.

I thought about this during a yoga class this week. A few of my coworkers and I had been invited to meet the team at Sakara Life, where we’d been ordering delicious vegan meals for the last couple of weeks. (If you are in New York or LA and you want to feel nourished and well fed, check them out. AMAZING meals.) They graciously offered us spots in a yoga class at their offices, and we happily accepted.

As we moved through the poses, I was reminded of how long it had been since I breathed deeply.

It’s such a silly thing to say. I forget to breathe.

But there it is, the truth. I walk through days holding it all in. I hold my breath as if I’m waiting.  For what, I don’t know.  Something exciting that’s on the other side of the pause. Only, it never comes.

The thing about movement is it forces you to be in the moment. When a pose is challenging, when you are all twisted up and struggling to find your balance, often the only way to get through it is to breathe deeply.  In…out…in…out.  So, in a room full of strangers—kind, open, generous strangers—I found my breath.

Those things I try to hide from, yet insist on gripping me tightly, slowly began to dissolve away. The rough, tough survivalist in me gently lay down her weapons and began to trust that perhaps there is strength in letting go.

Is it really that simple?  Is the key to getting through whatever it is you are going through to simply be present and breathe? Is it possible that is how you find your way?

It may not be.  But, I think it can be.  It’s a choice we make.

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xo, with goodness and grace.

In autumn, nature sets about letting go of everything it doesn’t need. I used to say that I hated fall because everything is on its way to dying – whereas spring is about birth! Life! Light! – but I’ve determined that it may be time to revisit that point of view.

Though I always know it’s coming, every year I find myself unprepared for the cooler temperatures, the trees that are ablaze with color in the parks, and the crunch of fallen leaves underneath my feet.

It’s all inevitable. The world turns and it gives us four seasons. Fall is beautiful and magical and romantic. And yet I fight it. Every year.

Perhaps it’s too close a reminder – a denial, even – of all the things that I hold onto in my own life that have overstayed their welcome. All the things that clutter my physical space. All the ideas of who I’m supposed to be that are outdated.

So this year, I’m embracing fall by clearing it all out. The seasons shift, and I suppose it may be time to surrender to that change. Nature is letting go, and so should I.

The most logical place to start is my home, which has morphed into a place where I lay my head at the end of the day, rather than my sanctuary. I’m hoping that cleaning out my closets will help me to release the mental clutter as well.

Years ago, when I first moved into my tiny studio apartment after a months-long renovation, the electrician put the finishing touches on the chandelier he’d just hung, he paused and looked around.

“This is a dream,” he said. “A small dream, but a beautiful dream.”

It’s time to reclaim the beauty and grace of that dream.

Change me, divine beloved, into one who can let go of what wants to go, and receive what wants to come.                              — Tosha Silver

This quote randomly made its way into my orbit this week.  It stuck with me, mainly because it was so well-timed.

Have you ever had something in your brain—a thought, a situation, a person—that grabbed hold of you and wouldn’t let go?

Something has had its grip on me this summer.  The specifics of it don’t really matter in this space, because we all have our stuff.  Whatever the stuff, we have our ways of dealing with it.

Some of us will ignore it.  Some of us will take it out on other people.  Some of us will cover it up with whatever our vice is—food, shopping, alcohol, whatever.

This summer, I chose to sit with my stuff.

I asked it to sit next to me as I befriended it.  I asked it to tell me its story, to show me what it wanted to teach me.

Some days I let it hang with me, even if it felt sad and uncomfortable.  (It often did.)  Others, I felt as if I was ready to set it free.  Enough, I wanted to say. Enough of you.

As I got ready to workout this morning, I felt it gripping onto me.  Today, I decided I needed to send it on its way.  I decided it was time to make room for what is next, for whatever wants to come to me but won’t until I’ve made the space for it.

As I pedaled in my early morning cycling class, I struggled to connect with the class as I normally do. I decided I was going to use the rest of the ride to work out the thing that won’t let me go.

During a sprint, the instructor asked us to envision a rainbow beginning with us and extending to our imaginary finish line.  As she called out each color of the rainbow and what it represented, I chose to make the sprint into a prayer, a call to action for me to set my stuff free.

I honor you and I let you go.

If you decide to make your way back to me, I will welcome you with open arms. But for now I have to let you go.

Thank you for sitting with me.  Now it’s time to let you go.    

After class I felt emotional, yet lighter.  I wish I could say I had fully released all of it—I can’t—but I can say that pieces of it have begun to break away from me.  I can feel the space emptying, maybe little by little, as something is readying itself to be born.  All I can do is wait.

But as I wait, I feel grateful.

Even our difficult stuff, maybe especially the difficult things, have much to teach us about ourselves.  And it opens doors to beautiful things that we’d only recognize after we’d embraced the tough lessons.  Often, our stuff is grace hiding in disguise.

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