"Leaves are falling down like embers
in colors red and gold
they set us on fire..."
Autumn leaves arouse my senses. The vibrant, bold colors catch my eyes, and the rustling, shuffling of leaves swooshing and crackling as I walk over them perks my ears. I take notice – a message is here for me – what does it mean?
I consider the life of a tree and contemplate the metaphor of falling leaves:
-Is there anything I need to let go of?
-Why should I shed?
-What do I need to release?
I know I’m on the right track, because right now I feel overwhelmed – maybe doing too much, having too much, wanting too much, hanging on to out-dated ideas, concepts, desires, and ways of being.
Sometimes I cling, like those last, straggling leaves that refuse to fall, hanging on for dear life, and more willing to bear the brutal winter chill than release and move into a new phase of existence. But is it the tree that hangs on, or the leaves? Maybe they are both clutching, neither recognizing that the leaves, in their new form, still hold value, fertilizing and nourishing the tree in new and different ways.
“When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the spirit laughs for what it has found.” Sufi Teaching
I breathe in the ideas of shedding, releasing, and letting go. I haven’t done anything with them yet, because I too am still clutching, even though I know it goes against the natural order of things. However, I’m thinking about these ideas and after all, isn't simple awareness often curative? Shedding, releasing, and letting go, are all concrete concepts, and with them, I can begin to do “my work”.
Pondering the nature of the tree and its leaves further, I recognize that letting go, shedding, and releasing, all serve me. Just as the tree benefits from the fallen leaves that turn to mulch, I too am nourished by the experiences I let go of, the material things I release, the stale, habitual thought patterns I shed; they help to fertilize me, becoming the mulch of my life. I have learned from them all, used them all, and now in releasing them, they continue to serve, and as I move forward, I incorporate their wisdom into my being.
Unlike the leaves that hang on, continuing to drain energy from their tree, by letting go, I reclaim my energy. As I release, I open myself to going inward and to bringing clarity that re-organizes, re-prioritizes, and re-negotiates.
The shedding around me signals a shift, a transformation. Sometimes I am forced to let go, as if a gale-force wind blew all my leaves off. Other times, things gently fall away on their own.
This phenomenon is seasonal, cyclical – I just don’t notice it until I see the fallen leaves scattered on the ground. Perhaps I could embrace this experience more often, recognizing the “fall” needed this month, or week, or day; asking, “what needs to drop away?”.
At this point I am still exploring, not sure of what needs to be released, but I am willing to look, write, reflect and assess; to see which doors open easily and which seem to close. Over the last several months Karen and I have been writing about success, and I suspect that embracing the nature of the tree and its leaves will only enhance mine. I intend to take the time necessary to identify what I need let go of, shed and release.
Practice Engaging Your Inner Wisdom:
What is calling you to be released? Can you be literal in this application and clear out a cabinet, or a closet? Can you go through and shed one thing from each room? Perhaps these actions will loosen up any internal elements like thoughts, ideas, or concepts that you need to release. What about your behaviors, actions and intentions? Are there any that you are clinging to that need to move on, so that you can move forward? Do you have too much on your plate, too much stuff, a bad relationship, an addiction? Take time over the next several weeks to check in with yourself – write, paint, draw, meditate – engage in whatever practice will help you embrace the natural cycle of letting go, thereby making room for and feeding your new potential.