Once again, the last day of summer in the northern hemisphere is upon us. It harkens to us to harvest the bounty of the growing season that now comes to a close, alongside stocking up on all that we may need to stay warm, nourished, and comfortable through the colder seasons ahead. Autumn is a time of turning inward, retrospection, and introspection. In any inward turning practice we gain traction and perspective. Just as the seasonal change calls to us to be mindful of our gains as well as our needs, a practice of introspection does the same.
My birthday is this week, and with every successful revolution I make around the sun, I, in accordance with the seasonal invitation look back, review, and plan for the future, at the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new.
This year has brought with it many changes in my life, some I was seeking though perhaps did not know at the time, others I was unaware I wanted or needed and resisted as they slowly took hold. One thing I can say for sure, not much of the changes that have transpired in my life over the last year were ones I were directly seeking out, and in truth I have had a year of adjusting to life as it appeared in front of me, rather than living a life I “choose”. Some say all of the life we experience is of our own creation, I tend to believe this to be true. This reality is hard to agree with when life is so full of circumstances that appear far off from what it is our hearts and minds desire, yet as I have come to learn over and over again, life does get you where you want to go, even when it takes its own route. Truly I know, that even though my year has been hard, it has been valuable. I also know that someday I will look back on the experiences of this time in my life with gratitude, because as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Lately I have added, and if it does kill you, you’re free. The true challenge as I see it then, is to be free, here, now, no matter the circumstances and experience beneath and beyond our skin.
One of the few life-changing gifts to myself that I choose this year has been deepening my meditation practice. From what began as a few necessary minuets in the morning so that I would not loose my mind (or so I thought), to a now regular practice or more than a few minutes both morning and evening. I read recently that you don’t do meditation, meditation does you, and I immediately agreed. In my short experience with regular meditation I have found the practice allows for, and invites calm and peace of mind, to the awareness of what is disturbing the mind, and the introspective journey that heals the mind as well as the heart, back to calm and sometimes in fleeting moments, pure bliss. Meditation, like asana is a great tool I am happy to regularly pull from my toolbox, and like asana chose to begin out of great necessity.
In retrospect I can see that though life has moved me into circumstances I would not have choose if asked, in those places have been the greatest gifts along the way in this wild ride of life. Every year brings me more satisfaction in an agreeing sentiment to a favorite John Lennon quote, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”
Here I am again, at the end of another beautiful summer, birthday closing in on me and I am grateful that I get to be here for it all. If all goes the way I want it, my next year of life will have a bit more splashes of color that I choose directly. However, I know, whatever arrives, I have the skills to respond with an open heart, a spacious mind, and the willingness to continue.
I share my story with the hope that in sharing, others find a bit more comfort in their own stories when they choose to look inward, and take stock, clearing away the unnecessary clutter of despair and disdain, while listening to their hearts desires and confidently planning for it’s happiest future, no matter what life may have in store. It is also my hope, that like I have come to see with each passing day, others will recognize the universe to be their ally always conspiring in the favor of each of our greatest good, and we do wind up eventually where we want to go. In the end I believe truly we are only limited to what we believe.
I pray that each or ours last day of summer shine bright warm golden light into all of our dreams, enlivening them with magic and unwavering belief in their reality. May this autumn bring with it the blessings of introspection, and all each of us need to carry us through the winter warm, nourished, and comfortable.
With Love, Always, In All Ways, and Joy,