As the summer is coming to a close, the nights are gradually drawing in. As I stroll along in the forest I notice leaves are beginning their gentle decent to the ground, laying the forbearers that will form a rust coloured blanket on the well-worn pathways in the months to come. The ferns that have stood proud within their abundance, unfurled and unashamed have now began to wither, their ends rusting.
It is at this time of year, as the end of summer approaches trees devote themselves to breaking chlorophyll their precious protein down readying themselves for the winter by storing it away. As the trees make their preparations for winter I wonder about my preparations for winter.
Traditionally Autumn is a time when harvests are collected, a time of abundance and preparations for winter are made. In the modern world you may find yourself yearning for cosy jumpers, nights wrapped up with a steaming mug of hot chocolate and dreaming of a beautiful roaring log fire.
As the equinox approaches signalling the end of summer it can be nourishing to think of this as a time reflect upon your year:
what are you holding onto that is no longer necessary or helpful?
Is everything that you are you taking into your Autumn serving you well?
The reds, golds and rust coloured leaves are a reminder to us that life is a constant cycle and within that is the constant change that occurs.
The colour of a trees Autumn foliage is dependent on its past, the redder a leaf that falls, the more stressed a tree has been by things such as deep frost.
Autumn is a reminder that we too are also influenced by our past and our experiences, that we can take the opportunity to shed the things that no longer serve us.
Change can be frightening and exciting, it can signal the end of an old way of being and the beginning of something new. We can use the cycle of nature to guide us in self-care, use the Autumn months to reflect and prepare for good mental health.
We can be introspective, use self-compassion to nourish ourselves both physically and psychologically.
Consider what opportunities for growth there is within ourselves, spending time making connections internally and externally.
Learn from nature that, while things may seem to be dying away, there is growth happening underneath.
In Autumn there is mass growth under the forest floor – you just don’t see it. Fungi grows rapidly at this time and it builds links with trees, forging essential connections essential to the life of the forest.
Can we learn to also use this time of year to also build connections for our own wellbeing?
learning about ourselves?
seeking out a therapist?
go to that yoga class?
learn how to meditate?
All of this could help us build our resilience in a readiness to brave the winter, knowing for certain that change will occur all around and that it could be the key for our own positive mental health.