We love autumn, and these thoughts from Beth Havey are lovely and true. Read more from Beth on her blog, Boomer Highway.
How do you let go of stress? I’m a gardener who loves autumn. I appreciate the end of things, the respite. I need a break! After wild fertile spring blasts her seeds and makes big weeding headaches, I don’t mind a halt to growth. Autumn is a time when flowers stand out against the returned vigor of green grass and the shouting colors of the trees. I crave being outside on a warm day soaking up the sun and the beauty of the earth while raking, putting away flowerpots, and preparing myself for the onslaught of winter.
The cycle of the seasons affects many things in our lives: school ends in one season, begins in another. Job responsibilities cycle throughout the year. Our very existence can cycle from the height of abundance to the depth of loss. Change is inevitable.
To stay healthy, we all have to work to let go of the stresses related to expected and unexpected changes. Jane McKeon, of Better Homes and Gardens, recently wrote undert he heading WISDOM: Frost reminds us that we’re not in charge, after all. How do we let go? Laugh at our failures, but don’t repeat them…Observe. Learn. Let go.
Though on one level Jane is talking about gardening, her words mean more. We all experience life changes that affect our physical and spiritual health. Sometimes we are happy for these changes, other times we pray that they will soon end. In the latter case we can clench our teeth, let our back muscles grip in pain, lash out at those around us, or we can let go. It’s challenging, but such times call for examining our failures, discovering what might have contributed to them, and trying not to repeat them.
There will be frost—we are not in charge. But we can live happier, better lives if we find something about change that strengthens us. A broken arm, painful and inconvenient, is not life threatening. It can create a lasting appreciation for that body part, and for the people who do the littlest thing to help us weather that cycle. On a different note, it’s totally challenging to find anything good in a job loss. That’s a change that requires we all remember: attitude is everything and stress can tear a family apart or ruin a person’s health. In such a time of struggle, for our own health and the health of our families, we have to let go and let others help us. And of course we have to help ourselves: observe, learn, not repeat our failures. That’s how we will weather such a season. It’s a cumulative process, one we will get better at as we live.
Jane McKeon may have intended her words for gardening, but they are words of true wisdom. For your own spiritual and physical health, accept the flow of the seasons in your life. Weather the springs and autumns and you’ll be ready for the winters when they come. Let Go, Let God –or whatever god or spiritual practice you believe in. After frost and snow comes spring.