This weekend is the Autumnal Equinox and I find myself really tuning in at this time of year.
September is usually a time of transition in my home. As summer winds down, we prepare for and start school, and the weather cools, the entire family is preoccupied with changes in daily routine, clothing choices, eating and sleeping patterns… essentially everything about every day shifts to a “new normal” in a matter of weeks.
Of course, I’m not alone. This time of year has traditionally been associated with change in many cultures, with many festivals and holidays marking calendars all over the world. Both European and Asian cultures spend time celebrating the end-of-summer harvest and preparing for the coldness of winter (Mid-Autumn Festival, Mabon, and Harvest Festival). Events like Higan or Dia de los Muertos focus on a remembrance of dead ancestors and reconnection to their spirits through ceremony.
All over the world, it is clear that humans have long felt a significance to the changing of the seasons beyond just the weather. As the end of the year draws near, we sense the need to celebrate, to remember, to reflect, and to prepare.
Take a Time-Out
In modern times, however, all these changes make it easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of activities and to-do lists with little reflection. In our go, go, go culture, packed schedules, exhaustion, and sleep deprivation are not just normal but badges of honor.
So I really appreciate a formal marking of the Autumnal Equinox as a chance to take a time-out… not as punishment, but as an opportunity to tune in.
Celebrate & Remember
What have we accomplished over the summer? What metaphorical seeds did we plant this spring and how have they turned out so far this year? What connections did we make and/or return to? With whom have we lost connection, and how does that make us feel? Celebrating accomplishments and taking stock is an important part of the human experience and my mental health.
What is working in our new schedules, and what is not? How are we spending our days? Are our activities meaningful? Are they worth the energy expended, either through the growth they bring or the joy they provide? Are we adequately nourished, through food, sleep, and human connection? Where do we need to cut back?
How can we appropriately prepare for the upcoming winter, especially the onslaught of holidays (and accompanying stress) in the next few months? How have we handled things in the past? Did those strategies work? What do we want to keep the same, and where do we want to make some changes?
Setting the Intention
Now, ideally we’re doing this kind of self-regulatory check-in often… weekly, if not daily. But it’s tough, especially when so many of us have been socialized to prioritize others. Which is why I’m inviting you to join me in setting a little Equinox-inspired intention to tune in more often. Whether it’s taking some time to do a little journaling this weekend, coming to a yoga or meditation class in the next month (see my schedule here), or just coming back to this post and asking yourself these questions every so often, set the intention now to tune into YOU.
Of course, I would love to support those of you who would like more individual guidance! If it’s a group class or private sessions (in studio or by phone), I’m available to help in whatever way best meets your needs. Reach out to me anytime!