By Laura Mills
Even though I enjoy the fall, at this time of year I notice a tremendous decrease in my energy. Yes, I do believe that to feel my best I should attend to nature and follow its cues on cycling with the world around me. However, in spite of this and in spite of my sentiment for fall, I find I hold tightly to summer; among other things, I still eat lots of cold foods and drink many cold beverages, and I don’t always utilize the extent of my fall outerwear. No wonder that this year so far I’ve felt cold and sluggish inside and out. Even though fall is in full swing, I have yet to “change my colors.”
I don’t believe that choosing hot soup for lunch or bundling up to run errands will instantly improve my energy. But I do believe I would benefit if I stopped fighting myself and instead, as nature does with seasonal change, flowed along with it. Am I tired? Then I should breathe and slow down. Am I cold? Then I should change clothes. Am I hungry? Then I should ask myself what my body really wants. And to assist in all these areas, I should re-think my yoga practice. I know I cheat myself on the days I push my cold and tired body through vigorous Vinyasa…I also know I can nurture myself with gentle practices and meditation on the days when energetic asana isn’t the way to go.
I’ve heard it said that much of living involves finding comfort with where we are, not reaching a different place. I believe it, and I'm trying.
By Laura Mills
Recently my husband and I discussed the change in seasons and agreed we’re both partial to the fall—and I know we’re in the majority at least among people we know. Why does fall delight so many? I’m sure the color changes evident in this part of the country are a major source of sentiment, but after considering the question, I thought of a few additional possibilities….
First, by the end of September more frequent cooler temperatures bring a unique excitement. While winter transitions to spring so gradually I barely notice it, summer transitions to fall seemingly overnight. And it inspires an annual ritual in my house: the digging out of sweatshirts and jeans, socks and blankets. Of course, we do experience that occasional unseasonable warmth well into the season, but overall fall distinguishes itself from summer quite dramatically.
Second, fall is particularly fun. It involves back-to-school, the culmination of baseball, the beginning of college and pro-football, and of course the anticipation of year-end holidays. Which prefaces the third possibility: fall lends itself to my most favorite comfort foods like soups, casseroles, and various pumpkin and apple goodies. More than at any other time of year, I can taste the effort and nurturing that went into growing and preparing what I eat.
Finally, and definitely most profoundly, watching the natural world progress into its final yearly stage makes me pause. The act of passing into dormancy, of drawing back into the earth, reminds me of life’s transience. And that in turn, more than anything during any other season, reminds me how blessed I am to be here.
By Laura Mills
After this summerís heat, the first 65-degree day felt so good; my sweatshirt seemed like a hug from an old friend, and walking around in it was one of the highlights of my week. As was sleeping with the windows open, huddled under a blanket, snuggling with my cats.
Am I looking forward to fall weather? Yes. For now.
In the midst of rejoicing over the crisper weather I did realize I wasnít celebrating the weather itself, but merely the change. A 65-degree day in June, I know, would irritate me to no end. I would lament summerís delay and wish more than anything for a temperature reading of 90-plus just to kick-start the season. In June, I am always thrilled by that first really warm day, which in fact never fails to inspire me to fold the sweatshirts away.
If nothing else, I believe we should frequently pause to appreciate the changing nature of our perspectives, the extent to which our individual opinions, feelings, and even actions depend on variables like circumstances and timing.
Really makes one stop and think.
THERE ARE NO DISASTERS
MAY 7TH, 2009: When life is its most challenging we can feel darkness even on the sunniest of days. What spiritual practice teaches us is that there is really no bad experience, it is all just experience. So in a real sense there are NO DISASTERS.
Now don't get me wrong, is life sometimes dreadfully painful. Do we have those moments where we feel like we are surrounded by smooth sailing sailboats while we're treading water in a beat up, holded up dinghy? YES. Even then we can see that we are becoming experts in the human condition which will help us be more compassionate and kind when we see someone that is a few steps behind us on the spiritual path, tripping and falling.
Have you ever felt that you get so stuck replaying the disaster that has just happened or rehearsing the what if this happens in my life to me that you get paralyzed and can't move from the catastrophe? I have. You know that the car has flipped over and you have to get out but you just can't move. You don't want to stay in pain but you can't muster the energy or courage to GO TO YOGA CLASS. Even though you know it will help you, help yourself. Ultimately yoga teaches us to save ourselves. We are the knight in shining armor. And we have to save ourselves first before we can even possible help others.
I think of this all like a Bruce Willis or Arnold movie where stuff just keeps blowing up all around.