Traveling home from our beach vacation, we were greeted with a vibrant display of the transformation which marks the beginning of fall in the high country. We've missed the peak of this transformation the past few years. It was breathtaking to once again see this colorful palette of leaves unfold.
The weather plays a large part in the intensity of the colors. Everything from the amount of cloud cover to overnight temperatures affects whether we'll predominantly see vibrant oranges and yellows, or intense reds and purples. And of course, heavy winds and rain can lead to the trees losing their leaves before reaching their peak colors.
There were seasons of my life when I felt beaten down by the wind and rain, perhaps not having best reflected the vibrancy of our Creator. For a time, before I gained a degree of life experience, those seasons would often lead to a spiraling into dark spaces of the mind. Experience has taught me this wisdom and hope: spring is around the corner. Dawn comes forth after the night. Renewal and rebirth.
Knowing that renewal and rebirth is ahead of us, what can we learn about embracing the autumnal seasons of the soul?
1. We can learn to rest.
We all need rest. True rest is vital to our body, mind, and soul. Autumn teaches us that we need to let go, just as the trees release their leaves, and allow the rest we are intended to embrace.
Did you know there are seven types of rest?* Author Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith has identified these areas of rest as physical, mental, emotional, sensory, creative, social, and spiritual.
Physical rest can be passive, such as napping, or active, such as stretching or getting a massage.
Mental rest calms the mind through practices such as journaling and visualization.
Emotional rest is the time we need away from emotionally draining people or situations, allowing us to be our most authentic selves.
Sensory rest pulls us away from the ever-distracting screens and other overly stimulating situations.
Creative rest surrounds us with inspiration while taking the pressure off of having to create.
Social rest embraces whether you're more of an introvert or extrovert and seeks to honor your bandwidth of being around others, or not.
Spiritual rest connects us at a deeper level of love, connection and purpose.
2. We can learn to reflect.
Autumn is also season of reflection. It's a time for our minds and our souls to engage less with the busyness of the world and our never-ending tasks and to-do lists. By first embracing rest, we also allow ourselves the time and the mental bandwidth to reflect on those things which are most important to us. We can reflect on how well we are living into the values we hold so dear to our heart.
When we understand our values, we have a filter through which to examine the choices we face. It becomes less complicated when we know and understand ourselves more authentically. Taking time for reflection can give you the space to explore and understand more about yourself and your values. For a guided exercise in discovering and defining your values, check out this free Values Exploration worksheet.
3. We can learn to receive rejuvenation.
And lastly, the autumn season can teach us about rejuvenation. Rejuvenation means to give new energy or vigor. When are we better positioned to be rejuvenated than from a season of rest? Through rest and reflection, we can tap into newfound energy received from living authentically into the kind of life which matters to us most. Our values have helped shape our decisions, which are now in line with who we truly are. Our doing will then flow from our being.
So friends, as we embrace autumn, and are intentional in finding rest in this season, may we enter into a time of reflection on that which truly matters, so we may be rejuvenated for that which is ahead.
What values are most important to you in this season of life?
The Seven Types of Rest You Actually Need, Psychology Today, 12/21/22
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