Fall is my season of gratitude.
Yes, they should all be seasons of gratitude (and this is something I’m working on all of the time), but for honesty’s sake: they are not. The winter holidays make me feel stressed and poor, spring is just fine, and I am forever overheated and overextroverted during the summer months.
Fall is my soul time.
I am captivated by the change of seasons; it’s what filled my childhood imagination and drove my dream to attend college somewhere that was not Southern California. I love how trees, the air, and the sky look and smell as the year progresses into autumn. The smell in particular reminds me that I am alive in a way that no other season does.
The day I physically arrived on the planet is in the fall. Football is in the fall. Wearing oversized clothing is in the fall. Earlier evenings and longer sleeps are in the fall. Starchy vegetables are in the fall… All things I’m passionate about.
Recently, a friend/soul sister sent me a daily ritual list that she found. At the top, you’re asked to identify your emotional/spiritual intention and then outline a ritual that will guide you towards living in this intention. I love the idea and yet, as I sat down with it, I could only think of a single word. Grateful.
Acknowledging that for today, my only intention is to live and love in gratitude, feels like a gift in and of itself. I haven’t gotten around to filling out the rest of the worksheet. That strong voice inside me that I can hear when I’m genuinely quiet is reminding me that grateful is a state of mind – it corresponds closely with byproducts of serenity, love, etc. etc. Honestly, I don’t know what the tools are to finding that place other than continuing to practice being there. Like learning to swim, there are drills and techniques – skills to hone. But none of the real work starts to unfold until you’re in the water… And then you practice.
Living with the intention of gratitude is cliche, I get that. It’s something that that hippy dippy yoga teacher you had once mused at you right before she lit a weird candle and stood on her head. I used to think it was woo-woo too…until I felt it. And here’s the thing: gratitude feels really effin good. I’ve done the critical thinking, black and white, needing concrete answers to every foreseeable outcome thing, believing that this was how respectable, intelligent people who take things seriously analyzed the world. I encourage you to do your own experiments with it, but here’s my spoiler: my life was not more organized, more clear or more productive when I ran around looking for problems to solve and criticized myself for not being and doing more all. of. the. time. I wasn’t smarter, more articulate, or more professionally esteemed. I was chronically anxious and I was exhausted. I wasn’t sleeping through the night and used copious amounts of caffeine to make it through each day. I didn’t laugh very often, I had an unfulfilling social life and my face broke out every other day. As it turns out, it’s also a lot more fun to walk around challenging myself to find a way to live in gratitude in spite of supposed evidence of the world’s imperfection. Maybe it is exactly as it is supposed to be and it is only my job to find a way to be in sync with the flow of everything else. I’ll never know.
So, for now, I’m going to continue to love the shit out of my favorite season.
Someday it will change and the trees will let go of the things that no longer serve them. But until then, you’ll catch me just peepin dem leaves.
I wholeheartedly invite you to join me.