I celebrated Equinox and the coming of Autumn over this last weekend. Lovely to spend time out in nature with other people interested in stopping the busyness and take time:
time for ourselves
time to honour the change of season
time to feel gratitude
Autumn is a powerful symbol of change ... and death
Autumn is my favourite season.
I love the ripening of my pumpkins and pepperdew capsicums. This is the season where my squirrel nature can run wild .... putting food by is so very satisfying:
Fig and Ginger jam
Pickled Pepperdews ... it is all happening at our house!
As a gardener, I have come to understand and welcome the change of season from summer to autumn, in preparation for winter. Spring needs winter, just as summer needs autumn. Each part of the cycle has a place and a purpose.
Autumn as a symbol of completion and bounty
Autumn can be experienced not just as a season but also in other ways. For example: as a phase of completion of a project. A time in a process where we feel satisfied and tidy up the loose ends.
Nature is one of my most profound teachers. In the garden making the compost out of the vines and leaves is as much a source of joy and a feeling of 'a job well done' as the pumpkin harvest itself.
Autumn teaches me about impermanence and death.
I have been thinking a lot about the cycle of our lives -- my life. Now at almost 66 years I am aware that I am turning towards the last phase of my life, my Autumn as it were.
It's not that I think that I am dying - not any time soon, I hope. It is a facing into death, a turning towards death as a positive conscious shift in myself.
I was very struck the other day when I realised that I was doing something for the last time - a professional registration requirement that I probably won't renew when it is due again in 2024. I know now that I will not want to be continuing that part of my professional life into my 70's. I was acutely aware of saying "This is the last time I will do this."
I remember leaving the UK after living there for close on 20 years, and being super conscious of the last time we went to our favourite woods as a family before leaving, the last visit to our favourite cafe. In preparing to return to New Zealand, there were lots of endings.
I am conscious that this next phase of my life is about endings.
It is also about preparation - talking with my loved ones, for example. I am not sure if our children can ever be completely ready for our death, and I am clear that I will need to talk about my death with my son. Perhaps that feels important because his father died when he was still a very young man. Perhaps that is my anxiety talking.
I like the concept of emotional accounting ... for me this means facing into death fairly and squarely; it means having the 'courageous conversations'; facing into fear and dealing with any regrets or unfinished business; it means finding meaning.
Perhaps facing into death is not dissimilar to moving to another country. Now there's a thought!
What are your thoughts?
These are the sorts of topics I work with everyday. If you feel pulled to ponder these big questions yourself - I would love to hear from you!