You are not leaving, you are arriving. ~ David Whyte ~
Hello all, Happy Autumn!
In tandem with the season, the practice this week is Acknowledging what has value and meaning in our lives with gratitude; and letting go of what is no longer serves.
In autumn the days shorten and the sun is lower in the sky. It is pumpkin and apple picking season. Eating with the season allows us to nourish our body with the deep richness that the squashes provide.
This time of year, the lighting is changing and the color of the leaves changes as the chlorophyll degrades. Even the trees are letting go. And the degradation of the chlorophyll reveals other beautiful pigments within the leaf which were previously hidden from us. The same is true of us as we let go and change and discover our own inner deep value. The tree sheds its leaves to prepare for winter and pull its energy inward as the leaves no longer needed at this time. So for us too, Autumn is a time for letting go in order to conserve our energy for winter.
For your practice each day, consider: What is it you can let go of now? For example, today a clinic appointment was canceled and I let go of the urge to fill in the space with another appointment. I let it go to allow for a space to breathe. Instead, I studied a bit, got outside for a bit, and made a fall dinner for the family. On a more challenging, ongoing level, I am letting go of the need for external validation. Instead I'm looking inward and ensuring I'm fully in alignment with my deepest values and my heart and knowing that this is the best from which I can come from.
The converse of Letting Go is identifying what truly holds value to you and is something you wish to hold on to in your life. What truly serves? One of those things for me is preserving time with my husband in the midst of being in school and student clinic. I also value writing these Reflective practices which provide a way for me to offer forward what I am learning in my Acupuncture program. In specific, the offering of these practices, helps me feel connected to dear ones in my heart. It also offers me a terrific way to continue the practices myself! One way to identify things of deep value to you is to write down 3 things you are grateful for each day. I like do this in the evening as it sets a positive tone to finish the day. These can be little things or big things. Today, I am grateful that I have a home and loving children and the opportunity to pursue a lifelong passion.
Autumn Immune Boosting Qi Gong Routine: (8 minute video here)
Flu season is around the corner. This qi gong set is specifically to enhance the immunity and strengthen the lung. If nothing else, the short routine promotes deep breathing and calm in our mind. My philosophy is to find little ways to incorporate just a few minutes of healthful practices each day to support our bio-psycho-spiritual well-being. If you can, I suggest doing this exercise in the morning. I do Qi Gong every morning no matter what...even if it is just a couple of minutes. The movements naturally inspire deep breathing and the body with oxygen, or heavenly Qi in Chinese lingo. I hope you will consider giving it a go.
Fall butternut squash soup recipe (From the Airlie Conference Center)
2-3 lbs butternut squash (I bake it 1st for 40 minutes at 375)
1 yellow onion
3/4 inch grated fresh ginger (My addition)
1 qt vegetable stock (I use chicken stock)
1 c heavy cream (or cashew milk/cream, or almond milk, or coconut milk)
1 clove garlic
1 Bay leaf
salt and pepper
Sweat the onions and garlic together. Add the squash, stock, cream and bay leaf and ginger. Boil and reduce to simmer until 1/4 liquid reduced. Use an immersion blender to blend it. Season with salt, pepper, and maple syrup to taste.
Some Notes on "Practicing" Be easy on yourself as you explore all these practices. They are called "practices" for a reason----it takes practice to move into new ways of being. We practice the violin, and ballet, and all sorts of technical skills. Why don't we allow ourselves the latitude to also practice communicating differently or transforming our approaches to life. Practice, practice, practice.
I'm working with you.