The falling leaves of autumn teach me about letting go and passing away. I like to stand in the deep woods and watch the leaves rain down. Some seem to fall gladly and willingly, while others need to be shaken free by the wind. What I especially notice as I watch the leaves is just how easy it seems. One second the leaf is attached to the branch… the next second it is falling. The letting go seems effortless, and the descent is often slow and gentle. Watching this fills me with a sense of peace. I am quite sure that this is how I want to die. So I watch, and pay attention, every year. Trying to absorb the ease with which this happens and trying to take in just how easy letting go can be.
A friend recently asked “what do you do when things are hopeless?” (As a life coach people imagine I have the answer to questions like this). After some hemming and hawing I asked “what advice does your higher self have?” The response: Let go. Immediately followed by the question… but how do I do that? This is why I watch the rain of leaves every year.
While people typically connect the return of the light to the winter solstice, for me the light returns when the leaves fall. Living surrounded by woods, I see the light streaming through the branches as the canopy empties. The sun, sky, clouds and stars become visible in places they were hidden all summer. If you are contemplating letting go, look around to see where the light is streaming in. What is being illuminated? What is revealed that was once hidden?
My feet are crunching the leaves now when I walk through the woods. A thick layer of leaves is being laid down, providing a blanket of protection against the cold of winter and nourishment for next spring’s growth. This is the cycle of living and of dying. I imagine the leaves falling with a sense of relief and excitement… relieved that this part of their journey has come to an end and now they can rest. Excited about the transformation that will allow them to support the growth of the forest in a new and different way. In what ways do your experiences fertilize the ground for your next project or job, or just for tomorrow?