Author: Devon Smolca, MS
Autumn is a season of transition, release, and letting go. As the light diminishes, days grow shorter, and the trees shed their leaves, we can sync up with the natural rhythms of the world around us and tap into all of the potential that being in harmony holds for us.
This is also a time of withdrawal and reflection. To harmonize with this autumnal energy, we can take a simple pause from our busy lives and consciously reflect on all the thoughts, habits, and responses that we need to let go of, as well as healthy ways we can transform them.
Below are 3 things to let go of and transform with the change of season:
1. Negative self-talk
There’s a difference between urging ourselves to improve, wanting to be a better person, and self deprecation. Self deprecation isn’t motivating or productive; it’s a negative thought pattern that we develop, which keeps us in a cycle of stagnation. It IS within our control to free ourselves from the, “I can’t”, “I won’t”, “I shouldn’t”, “I’m not,” and recognize the only thing keeping us from accomplishing our goals is this mindset. Our minds are very powerful! We can transform the negativity towards self by first being more mindful of these thought habits when they arise, and then really questioning ourselves, “Is that really so?” Prove yourself wrong with reason! Reflect on the times “I could”, the things “I did”, why “I should,” and all the positive ways “I am!”
2. Influence of others
Humans are social beings, but we have individual needs. We want reciprocity, community and that feeling of connection with others. When we take actions that are a bit outside of the fray, it can feel a little frightening because most of us are hard-wired to with an urge to be included. We have the power to let go of what doesn’t serve us personally and take direction from our own inner compass. It may take time and practice to tease out our own individual needs from those around us. The first step is to release the habits and lifestyles that aren’t beneficial for us in order to transition into what is truly nurturing. And if we are worried at all about what others may think, to quote the late and great Dr. Seuss, “…those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”! It can also help to consider that there is a possibility to set a good example and be a catalyst for someone else’s positive change.
3. Automatic emotional responses
Emotions can be formidable and challenging to navigate. They can sometimes be so strong that it’s like an ocean, and we just get swept up in the tide. When we are in this strong current we tend to grab onto anything that will help us feel a bit more grounded: food, drinks, intoxicants, stress, unleaching, lashing out, or latching onto others. These are automatic emotional responses programmed from a young age as coping mechanisms to help us deal with difficulty. While we certainly need to embrace our emotions, it can be helpful to let go of the ways we automatically respond. We can transform the auto-response by putting a little distance between ourselves and our emotions by first giving the emotion a container and validating how we feel, simply labeling the emotion, for example, “I’m angry”. We can sit with the emotion and notice how it feels in our bodies, what are the physiological responses and how does it change when we breathe into it? What is it that we need to let go or accept in these moments? Instead of resisting or looking for something outside of ourselves to cope with our emotions, we can simply be present with these feelings and know that the tides will change!
In this season of release, it’s important to keep in mind that we are naturally whole, so in any transition, we can still embrace, be humbled by, and learn from our imperfections and our past to be reborn anew. The death and decay from the fall is the fertile ground for the beautiful blossoms of spring.