I have an awkward relationship with autumn. On one hand I love the last throws of the harvest, the elderberries, sloes, apples rosehips and haws-oh my! Like gifts of precious jewels! I gather them up and go into mass production making syrups, chutney, jams and, let's face it, a lot of flavoured gin. But...but, the days are wetter, the days are colder and above all the days are shorter and I really start to miss the sun. This whole time of year makes me want to enjoy what is left of the greenery around me and get out doors well wrapped in waterproofs, leg warmers tucked in underneath. Hats are already in use but gloves have been looked out and are on standby. I find myself more reflective and a little less likely to get in touch with friends. I think more of people I have lost in life. I start asking "what am I doing with my life?"
This is the essence of autumn. A time of looking inward or examining what we can let go of mentally and emotionally as well as physically. Think of all the thoughts that go in and out of your body each day...are they positive or negative? Do they help or hinder you? This is the time to unpack them and get rid. The jealousies, the hatred, the self deprecating comments, other peoples views on you can all go. Trees in autumn don't hold on to their decaying leaves but rather they shed them and, to take the analogy further, those decaying leaves once shed help the tree to grow.
There are ways to lean into autumn if you are not someone who naturally embraces it but these suggestions work for anyone who wants to work with the energy of autumn rather than against it.
1) Journal. Write or draw it all out. All the feelings and thoughts you have whether good or bad, get it all out without, and this is important, it becoming an exercise in making you feel bad about yourself. Balance is forever key here so if you are reflecting on things that did not go so well then also write a bit about things that did go well...and if even that is hard then look at the things that did not go well and spin them round to look at what you have learned from it all.
2) Get outdoors, breathe in nature and fill your eyes with the colours of autumn. Wild things will always find a place to grow even in the most urban environments. I've seen apple trees growing in the wastelands alongside railway tracks and medicinal herbs growing in the cracks of pavements. The light and colours of autumn create the perfect backdrop for some reflection and introspection. Plus tingly fingers and rosy noses are crying out for hot chocolate on your return.
3) If you are lucky enough to be able to find apples, sloes, elderberries or haws where you live then have a go at making a chutney, slow gin, elderberry syrup or a sweet and sour haw sauce. I say make things because you are creating a link between the seasons. The syrup you make in autumn might get used in winter or the chutney in spring. It's about preserving the energy of that berry or fruit at its height and being able to access it through the rest of the year.
Happy autumn x