It's a time for winding down, slowing down, taking stock of what's been achieved during the ripening months of spring and summer. Autumn often feels so brief - a liminal season before we cross the threshold into winter. But there are alternatives to hibernation...
Opportunities for self-discovery don't depend on a season. Exploration and growth aren't confined to sunny days or milder weather. But, when those learning experiences create a new shoot of self-awareness, an insight into what we could do or be, that shoot, like any other, needs nurturing. It needs protection from the elements that could kill it before it has the chance to grow – elements that include criticism, self-doubt, fear and often our own apathy.
e.e. cummings said, 'It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are' and that may be true. It also takes curiosity, passion, openness and the intention, the will to grow. Which reminds me of something...
"They say that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which growns into the tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well - the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity."
(A Zen Buddhist belief as explored in Eat, Pray, Love)
It's the word "longing" that stands out for me, that deep desire to be more and, if we're thinking big (well, why not?) to live our life's purpose.
I have no intention of stepping off this amazing learning curve. The minute we stop growing we start the process of dying - and equally, how could I ever presume to know enough, know everything I could know? It's like travel – the more you explore, the bigger and more exciting the world gets.
So rather than bedding down for the winter months, how about growing (stronger and brighter and deeper and happier) instead? Personally, I like that idea.