'Cause nothin' lasts forever. Even cold November rain.Guns N' Roses
There Lies a Silence of the Heart in the Dance of Colorful Autumn Leaves.Sir Kristian Goldmund Aumann
Just a few days ago, we saw burnt crisp red edges on orange leaves, golden yellows, scarce greens, and now, I’m getting used to bare branches as I hike Rockefeller State Park.
Last weekend, we dialed the clocks back to gain more light in the mornings. Less sun, less brightness is upon us for six month’s time. As darkness settles in, some of us hibernate, become less social, and all of us feel impacted in one way or another. Internally, we’re adjusting to the one hour difference. In one more week, we’ll cover our hands and heads, pull on heavy wool socks to keep warm.
As I settle in to more change this month, unexpectedly, I am reminded that the bare trees symbolize vulnerability. We can see through our neighbor’s yard. We don’t hide under bushy landscapes. There is no longer a canopy protecting us. Perhaps there is beauty in this new found clarity, in the brighter sunshine in the cold air. As someone who embraces all things summer, activity, and loves hot weather, it isn’t easy to make this transition.
My intention is to take three actions this season, and I invite you to discover three of your own. Three years ago, I started a “Monday after Thanksgiving” holiday or “me day.” I take Monday off to spend time with myself alone. If you’re like me, you are busy with commitments that the holidays bring and therefore have little time to yourself. It is on this day that I reflect and take a deep breath. Every year I post a picture from my Me Day holiday and get lots of support from those who understand the meaning of it.
Another tradition I’d like to rejuvenate is to volunteer time at a local soup kitchen with my kids. I cooked an entire dinner for fifty people in Paterson one year. There is scientific evidence that cooking for others promotes stress reduction and creative tasks might make you feel better. My heart is full when I feed the stomachs of those who need it most.
Lastly, taking long walks in the cold dead of the night has always calmed my spirit. It literally takes two minutes to put on a pair of sneakers, throw on a coat and head out your door. It instantly makes me feel better to look up at the sky and realize I am a tiny part of this vast universe. After a walk through my town, I often come back home with a fresh new perspective that surprises me.
As you close out your year, call your attention internally and schedule things you love to do.
A calendar dictates that it’s a time to be thankful, to have gratitude, to attend gatherings and to close out the year. Please comment and tell me how you gain clarity this time of year and what you will do to stay grounded in November.