I call the shift from summer to fall the Big Drop. It can feel that way moving from the height of summer, which is so powered by the sun, dropping to fall which is down to the earth. Summer to fall. Sun to earth. These are extremes. For us on the East Coast it can feel abrupt, sudden, and difficult to manage.
Everything is also begging for a slower pace. We are still in the pull of Mercury Retrograde cycle which can illuminate places you are moving too quickly, outwardly or inwardly, even in your mind. We are all such excellent multi-taskers, driven and determined, that perhaps adding yet another thing to your create list (better than “to do list”) would normally seem totally fine, but now it feels daunting. I say, go with that feeling and skip it till next round. Now’s not the time to overwhelm yourself, your system, or your routine. Instead, look to settle in to what you already do and know and love. Find your metaphorical home and give yourself a small bit of extra time there.
There are a few things I make sure to do with every season shift, and I’d like to share them with you.
5 Tips for Anchoring into Fall
1. Slow down. This may seem so obvious, but for many its the hardest thing to do. This could include eating more slowly, not eating on-the-go, walking more slowly, taking some extra time to think about an answer before typing it up and quickly hitting send. The point is to stay present, move mindfully and more consciously, even if others around you aren’t (especially if others around you aren’t). If you commit to it, they’ll entrain to your rhythm in no time.
Slowing down will also include allowing longer Savasanas, which I commit to offering in all of my classes.
2. Establish a morning routine that grounds you. Or, revive one! For me, its reading and meditation. Anywhere from 5-15 minutes of eyes closed personal silence can be part of a precious ritual that marks your own importance, your own value. Time to read words that are nourishing to your soul and mind is also key—before you check email and get on social media. You have a bookshelf of books you’ve saved for a reason. Even if its a re-read, pick it up. See what it can inspire.
If you are busy getting kids ready for school, or wake up late, then be sure to do this next one:
3. Add depth to the mundane. One thing I’ve come to do is chant mantra while I bathe, brush my teeth, and prepare food. Usually silently to myself, but sometimes it’s japa, or out loud. Think about it—what moves through your mind when you’re doing the most mundane acts of your day? I notice that if I’m thinking about something that stresses me out while brushing my teeth, I usually brush my teeth really aggressively! Not so good for my teeth. What better time to deepen into yourself than during the most perceived trivial parts of your average day. To render your body-mind most sattvic (as my teacher Paul would say), every chance you get. It will seep into what you do right after, and into the rest of the projects, subjects, people, and world you interact with. Any mantra or affirmation can work, and most importantly, increase your ability to create soft focus to shift into the demands of the day.
4. Make a shift in your diet. Add more warm, wet, and oily foods. Ayurveda prescribes this shift for everyone regardless of your primary dosha during the change to autumn. Oils create lubrication for what will be a drying season to come, and warm and cooked foods that are in season prepare your body for the cold. During Fall season, especially here on the East Coast, vata dosha, or air, is predominant. Vata orchestrates all movement like prana does, including movement of the mind and thoughts. Adding more vata-pacifying foods can help you not ruminate, and let thoughts be more fluid. Watch your inner narrative now, too. Things could feel stuck if you’re not shifting with the tides. Make it easier to move into change by adding some softer, sweeter, oilier, and mildly spicy foods. Take a dosha test here.
5. Keep contact with your peeps. Inspired by my friend Cami. I love this one, and I am committing to it. We come off summer with its beach parties, BBQs, gatherings of all sorts and it’s easy to loose touch with all the friends and community you were so present with just one month ago. Stay in touch with people, and try not to isolate. Even if you make a deal with yourself to go out at least once a week in a social manner—do something—and it could ensure you don’t feel so lonely as the days get shorter, colder, and dryer. You may look forward to having time alone and hunkering down in winter since you’ve been socially fulfilled in fall.
There’s so much more to say about this shifting season. Add your own suggestions in the comments on the Gather Facebook page.
May you feel the earth beneath your feet.