The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sun-burned hands I used to hold
Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall
English lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Does the autumn make you sad?
The waning sunlight lets us know that the sweetness of summer is beginning to fade, and the dark nights are coming.
This season isn’t something that everyone experiences. Coming from Malaysia, there are no distinct seasons, apart from the rainy and hot season. So, when I first moved over to England, experiencing the changing seasons was fascinating and exciting for me.
The Earth, like us, breathes with unyielding rhythm and there is no better time to observe this than during a change of seasons when the breath wave of Mother Earth can be experienced through our senses.
With the downward-moving inhale, all elements are magnetised toward the Earth. Plants surrender their vegetation in response to shorter days and cooler temperatures. Their leaves, drained of life-giving sustenance, eventually fall in the ultimate display of impermanence. Moisture and heat are absorbed into the ground.
So, as vehicles of the universal breath, we can interpret these environmental cues as a reflection of our internal seasons and emulate the perennial wisdom of the planet by letting go, slowing down and taking time to regenerate our bodies and our spirit.
This is a time for meditation and rest. Use this opportunity to surrender to your inner gravity, ask difficult questions and listen deeply for what arises. This is a time to excavate anything that may be churning beneath the surface, a time to invite such thoughts and emotions to gently rise and dissolve.
Here are some contemplation questions to meditate on, or journal about …
- What has been your personal harvest this year, what has brought you joy?
- What seeds of insight will you collect and re-plant in the next season?
- How can you conserve energy by releasing any unnecessary effort in this cycle?
- If your body were to speak, what would it say to you?
From an Ayurvedic perspective, Vata is the predominant constitution during this time of the year, where the elements of air and space are prevalent. When in excess, mobility in the body may result in dryness, joint pain, insomnia and a general feeling of unease, which could lead to feelings of fear, anxiety and irritability.
So, get grounded. Keep only what is absolutely necessary on your personal, professional and social calendars. Get more rest by eating an earlier evening meal and committing to a regular bedtime. Develop a fall rhythm and stick to a ritual routine, be it exercise, nutrition or self-care.
Favour warm, cooked foods over raw and allow time for eating. Refrain from drinking cold water or juices and drink room temperature or hot beverages instead. Cook with heating spices like cumin, ginger and fennel to maintain a steady digestive fire.
Hot water tends to dehydrate the skin, so take time to use a rich body butter, to moisturise. Diffuse warm, earthy scents like geranium, patchouli and rose. Listen to slow rhythmic music with heavy drumbeats and deep melodic chanting with vibrations that draw your energy closer to the earth.