A Time to Turn WithinNovember 1, 2014
I love all the seasons, and following an Ayurvedic lifestyle by living in harmony with Nature has made me even more aware of the importance of each of them. But if I had to pick a favorite, fall would win – hands down.
A Time to Turn Within
It’s ironic that I feel this way because Vata Season always challenges me. Nonetheless, the artist in me is seduced by the beauty of the changing leaves every autumn and I spend a lot of time gazing up at the color-drenched trees.
This time of year often seems to be busier, but according to Ayurvedic principles and many ancient cultures, once November rolls around (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is).
It’s time to slow down, go within a bit and deeply nurture yourself.
When I looked up the other day to photograph the tree above, I noticed the nest and the busy little resident squirrel scampering around readying him or herself for the cold weather soon to arrive.
With an awareness of the bleak landscape about to appear, I am always grateful for the one last burst of color before the trees become barren.
It’s said that the veil between our physical world and the spiritual world is thinnest at this time. You may notice that your dreams or meditations are filled with thoughts or memories of loved ones or deceased ancestors.
November 1st is Samhain (pronounced sah-win or sow-in), an ancient Celtic holiday which marks the end of the harvest and the preparation for winter, and also celebrates our connection with the spirit world. Halloween was derived from this ancient pagan tradition which takes place on the eve before Samhain.
We are leaving behind the warm bright light of summer and early fall and headed towards the dark cold days and nights of late autumn and winter. We needn’t be afraid of the dark for there is beauty in the dark, as well.
If the seed didn’t rest in the dark cool earth, there would be no blooming flower to greet us in the spring.
Just like Mother Nature, we need to honor our own cycles and rhythms.
I have learned to love (or at least appreciate!) the cold dark winter months which are approaching here in the Northeast. I know many of you shudder at this thought and are perhaps frantically making plans to get out of town. But I like to burrow in, read and write, deepen my sleep, and concentrate on nurturing myself – body, mind and spirit. This year I hope to do a silent retreat somewhere deep in Nature.
At the very least, give this some consideration and plant the seed in your mind that there is a reason for man to be in sync with all of the seasons like the rest of Nature.
Here are a few tips to remember
- Eat seasonal, local foods as much as possible. Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, provides us with just the right foods for our body.
- Limit indoor lighting and computer/TV use at night as it interferes with our natural sleep rhythms. Light more candles and turn in early.
- Favor gently cooked warm foods over cold and raw foods, especially if you have a lot of Vata in your constitution.
- Exercise should be of a more gentle, nurturing nature rather than intense and excessive. Think yoga, t’ai chi, qigong, walking, etc.
- Consider deepening your spiritual connection through a meditation practice.
- Use a light box and supplement with Vitamin D if you are prone to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
- Bundle up and take some solitary walks in Nature. Nothing is more deeply restorative.
The irony here is that so many of us get extra busy and things get chaotic as the holidays approach. I let go of that stress a few years ago and it has made such a difference in my life.
If slowing down and going within seems ridiculously impossible for you at this time, at the very least, set aside a few minutes each day to close your eyes (meditating is ideal), do some deep breathing and try to let go.
Sending you all some calming energy to help you during this seasonal transition.