Do you find that each season is resonant with memories?
Right now we are approaching autumn equinox (on March 20/21), a harvest celebration in praise of the generosity of Papatuanuka/The earth.
This seasonal shift has stirred up a memory of another autumn when I stopped at the organic growers on my way to the bach. There I bought a bag of beefsteak tomatoes: fat, red, and bursting with goodness. When I was told they were the last of the crop, I felt sad.
But then I was offered the first bag of feijoas, just picked that morning. I left feeling grateful for continuity, and the way nature keeps on giving her bounty.
What are your favourite fruits of the season, and how do you expand into the abundance of autumn?
Abundance isn’t always available
Then again, what if you are in scarcity – rather than harvest? What if material abundance eludes you, or you are struggling because of external events such as Lockdowns? Or if you are lost in grief?
Sometimes the season matches our feeling, and at other times the two are in stark contrast. To tell you the truth, I haven’t been feeling in full abundance lately. I am feeling depleted by grief and the hard physical effort of letting go of my bach. Most of you will know about this from an earlier Seasons Newsletter, ‘Leaving the Land’ (which you can access below).
At such times how can we find abundance?
Inner and outer seasons
I find it helpful to remember that we experience both inner and outer seasons. In times of hardship, it is even more important to draw on spiritual abundance: to cultivate qualities such as courage, resilience, creativity, integrity, and faith. And so in this time of hard work, I am increasing my practices of meditation, study, nature connection, and qigong.
Abundance is not bound to any one season. It’s an inner season that you can cultivate and carry within, sustained by contemplation, loving relationships, compassionate self-care, and practices that lead to inner peace.
One such practice that is proven in its effectiveness, is the offering of gratitude. As I return to this practice, I find my heart remembering its many blessings. I feel a layer of support beneath the feeling of depletion, knowing that this too will pass.
A simple ritual of gratitude
You might like to try this.
1. You will need a bowl and some coloured paper which you will cut into pieces about the size of a business card. Also have a pen, candle, and matches/lighter on hand. You could bring a journal as well.
2. On each piece of paper write down something in your life for which you are grateful. Don’t forget to include obvious ones, such as the food you eat, the shelter you enjoy, and the relationships you value. Take time to notice anything that may be hidden or less obvious. You may be surprised at how much you discover.
3. Light your candle beside the bowl, and say any invocation that will bring in a sense of being held by energy larger than yourself. You may, for example, invoke the power of nature, the elements of earth/water/fire/air, a particular deity, or the oneness of all things.
4. One by one, place each piece of paper into the bowl, reading the words aloud as you do this, and taking time to feel gratitude in your heart.
5. Then sit quietly, and notice how you feel. You may like to make some notes in a journal or notebook.
After equinox on the evening of March 20, the season will tilt into darkness, drawing your awareness away from the outward focus of summer to the inner focus of autumn. Taking quiet pauses will help you make the transition and welcome in the new phase of the year.
What qualities do you wish to grow in your inner garden over the mellow months of autumn? And how will you help them to grow stronger as the wheel of the seasons turns once more?
Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.
It is a pleasure to be writing to you again! I feel my gratitude practice sustaining me.
Seasonal blessings to you all,
This post is an excerpt from my Seasons Newsletter. You may receive the Newsletter by signing up on this page or on the Home page of this website.
PS If you’d like to read about my leaving of the bach, go to: ‘Leaving the Land’
Dancing with the Seasons was written to accompany you through the year. Now is a perfect time to begin this book, as it opens with the season of late summer/early autumn.