Sophie Lutz: This week was the Autumn Equinox. That time of year when there is a moment of equipoise, night and day are the same length. It is the tipping point, beyond which the days get shorter, and darkness arrives earlier every evening.
This is my favourite season, I adore the beauty of the red gold trees, and am enlivened by the wind as it strengthens and blows through my stagnant corners. Whether you’re with me, or you are a sun loving winterphobe who dreads this moment every year, there is an undeniable wistfulness around. The leaves turn and the temperature drops. The warmth and plenty of summer, when we turn our attention outwards, gives way to a time when we more naturally hunker down, and curl into ourselves. We tend to resist this, resenting the colder, wetter, gloomier weather. But we can choose to honour our return to darkness using the transition of the changing seasons to review and appreciate where we are, and to rebalance ourselves ready for the winter to come.
Harvest your fruits
Autumn Equinox is a time for reviewing our harvest. We have made it through to the last quarter of the year. What can we celebrate? The fact of being here, body, mind and soul vaguely intact, is a huge achievement given what we have all collectively been through since March. Lockdown has given all of us gifts despite the hardships most of us have endured. These fruits ripening in our lives are things we need to notice. We all too easily skim through our existence with no acknowledgement of our endeavours. Through this tumultuous and often distressing year we have got to know ourselves better. We understand what we value more clearly. We have learned our inner landscapes. This is important. Pick the fruit of your year and acknowledge your successes, however small, most especially the internal ones. Raise a metaphorical (or real life) glass to yourself for all the micro victories, and the big ones. If you are sitting there thinking ‘there aren’t any’ think again. You’re here, you’ve made it through this far, you’ve loved those close to you. These are no small feats, and if you think hard enough there will be multiple other triumphs that you can collect up in your grateful heart as this year starts to draw to a close.
Mark your gratitude with an altar to Autumn
Create an altar to Autumn and the Equinox for your home, a shrine to the changing season. The turning leaves make a beautiful centrepiece alongside conkers and dried grasses. You can use berry branches, candles and anything that reminds you of your small and large successes. Put this somewhere you can see it. If you meditate or pray, do it here. Whether or not you have a formalised spiritual practice, let this beautiful arrangement remind you to pay homage to how far you’ve come. Let this be a place in your home whether on your mantelpiece, in your kitchen, hallway or bedroom that makes you smile inwardly. A reminder that you’ve done good. A ‘well done’ that you’re sending yourself. And a grateful thank you for all the goodness in your life.
Find your Balance
Autumn Equinox is a transition point in the wheel of the year. We can feel the shift in season, and so we need to pay close attention to balancing our whole selves. The universe moves inexorably towards balance and equilibrium. Despite our best efforts to ruin it every ecosystem in nature journeys towards that harmony. In our bodies on a cellular and systemic level we maintain homeostasis, that point of equivalence we require to function. During this changeover from light to dark, warmth to cold, it’s vital to find balance and self-care. Balance seems to have become synonymous with ‘health’ and I’m not sure how useful that is. It means entirely different things for each of us as individuals. If you’re someone who maintains a tight grip on life, staying very much in control at all times, then balance for you might be really allowing your inner hedonist to let rip once in a while. For those of us who push ourselves hard, constantly striving, balance is being ‘lazy’. Staying in bed all day one Sunday. Keeping things easy and simple. Maybe letting someone else care for us. If you’re a comfort seeker, good at indulging yourself, then congratulations. I fully approve. And your journey to balance might be getting right out of your comfort zone now and again, challenging yourself in a new way.
Balance and Self Care
Take a moment to think about what balance is for you? Where do you need to ease back, or stretch yourself? What is there too much of, or too little? Journaling is useful in identifying how you can find more harmony. What small step could you take towards that balance? Can you set in place any regular self care mechanisms before the year is out? We are heading towards what may well be the weirdest Christmas we’ve ever experienced. Use this moment of shift to carve out some nourishing and uniquely balancing habits that will help to see you through. A great way to do this is to give yourself visual cues that remind you of your intention. Want to practice more yoga? Leave your mat out somewhere you can see it. Keep essential oils for balancing and relaxation by your bath. Lavender to relax. Bergamot to brighten up. Geranium is a fabulous hormone balancer. Put your running shoes by the door. Leave a post it reminder on your mirror. Leave a cake and bottle of champagne out. Whatever your need, there will be a way of nudging yourself towards it.
Using the wheel of the year
Every transitional moment of the year is an opportunity to mark the rhythm of the seasons and the passing of time. We can work with what nature is doing rather than fighting her. Autumn Equinox is our signal to take a moment and review our journey so far. To sit with gratitude for the year’s harvest and honour all that we have overcome and achieved. This moment of equilibrium is our prompt to consider how we can balance or rebalance our lives and bodies.
Wishing you a bountiful harvest and balance, whatever that means for you, during this most beautiful time of year.
Autumn photo: Johannes Plenio
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