In Focus: Autumn Energy is Potent.
Autumn Energy is potent. We’re swept up in a dramatic make-the-most-of-this before the inevitable hush of winter. Everything around us whispers imminent endings, a leaf about to fall but it hasn’t yet, a poignant reminder of how temporary all this is, and a delicious taking in of what’s here before it’s gone.
It can feel yummy. And it can feel rushed. It's the crackling activity of campus. It’s "I'm excited about my life!" and it's "I must do all the things right this very second or the magic will disappear!" It’s a compulsion to see every last vibrant hue before it all goes dark. A temptation to speed through the quiet of a morning and get to all the action. We rush through the moments wanting to soak it all in, and we never breathe long enough to actually soak it all in.
Sometimes we forget we are also nature. Autumn is a prime moment to pause and mirror the turning inward energy of this moment. With these darkening skies and turning trees as our teachers we can embrace the season and let go (or at least loosen the grip around) what no longer serves us. New life grows out of the moments we’ve already lived, but only if we let them go when they’re done. These falling leaves of our lives compost, their nutrients feed our roots, and we begin again.
We offer you a practice for quieting and turning inward in this change of seasons. Find a quiet space, ideally outside, where you can sit or walk in nature. Drawing on the wisdom of the trees, feel your strength, like that of the trees that can bend and withstand tremendous storms. In quiet contemplation, take some time to pay attention to those parts of your life, thoughts, and emotions that are no longer nourishing you. Like the turning of the leaves, allow them to fall away. Compost them into your roots, drawing from them the learning that will allow new growth to sprout when it is ready. Enjoy a guided 10-minute meditation to facilitate this practice.
These kinds of practices are a core part of our classes at Stanford Living Education (formerly Health and Human Performance). Please look for us in Explore Courses under WELLNESS, LEAD, and LIFE. For more info:
Written by: Diane Friedlaender, Associate Director of Learning, Pedagogy and Research, Health and Human Performance, and Sarah Meyer Tapia, Associate Director of Health & Human Performance