Fall, a Time to Reflect and Prepare to Grow

By: Other | September 28, 2018

Written by Paul Paris, Ph.D.

With autumn on the way, we shift from the hot, longer, leisure days of summer to the cooler, shorter, and sunset quickening days of fall. Leaves turn color and shed, making room for the winter and the renewal of spring. Autumn is the time to attune our attention and energies to the rhythm of nature: by shedding our old, less effective ways; by gathering and reflecting on the remaining harvest of our lives; by preparing for the colder times ahead; by readying ourselves for the newness and rebirth of spring. As such, several practices can help us with introspection, reflection, and preparation as we approach the seasonal shift in autumn.

Identify Core Values

Crystallizing and prioritizing our values help us to move toward goals that improve our lives. Doing so is an important foundational component of ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) and also an important aspect of quality of life. To put us “back on track,” we sometimes need to remember and reconnect with our core values, those aspects that are most deeply important and vital to us.

One helpful task is to write out the qualities we admire in others. Those qualities often reflect what we would like to emulate. Reading a biography or autobiography of someone we admire is also a great way to reconnect with these qualities.

Another helpful task is to imagine we are near the end of our life journey and write out how we would like to be remembered. Writing what we want to experience or do before the end of our life is important too. Write also what we would regret if we did not engage in those experiences. This exercise helps to reawaken the things that matter most to us that our daily routines can cloud over time.

Identify Energy Charges and Drains

Certain people, activities, or other things in our lives replenish us, energize us, or conversely, drain our energy and weigh us down in negativity. Be mindful of the impact these factors have on your mood and energy levels. Soothe yourself with smells, tastes, sounds, sights, and touches that give you joy or peace and contentment. Watch a show that will make you laugh out loud. Focus your attention and energy on the things that increase your energy and impart a sense of comfort or belongingness. Break out of your box a bit by volunteering if you haven’t tried it yet, by taking a walk somewhere new, or cooking that elaborate recipe you’ve always wanted to tackle. Whatever you choose to do, revitalize and reconnect with the aspects of experience that add to your life, not take away from it.

Set Intentions and Rituals for the Rest of the Year

Discover the amazing results that positive messages, affirmations, wisdom, and regular self-care practices — even in small doses — can have on enhancing life, especially near the end of the year. Willful, daily practice of positive or inspirational activity works wonders on our psyche. It nourishes our authentic self.

Inspirational daily calendars are a good way to start your morning. Inspirational pages on social media provide regular messages of hope, reflection, and new ways of thinking. Starting each day with a positive message to yourself helps to set the tone for the rest of the day, such as “I will be kinder to myself” or “I can manifest abundance.” Other rituals include scenting your living space with sage, lighting a candle in a color that soothes you, or other symbolic ways to cleanse your life with positive energy.

Fall is often associated with decay, but it doesn’t have to be thought of that way. Leaves may fall and crumble, but trees remain alive, naked but firmly rooted to the ground, allowing new leaves and blossoms to bloom again in spring. Autumn allows our stale old patterns to fall away. Autumn allows growing and strengthening our roots, allowing the blooms of our personal growth to spring forth brightly again after the New Year.

I wish all of you a happy, healthy rest of 2018!


Image: Mark K. on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

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