Today’s big idea is that it’s helpful to think about what the lessons, opportunities, and challenges of each season are; I did a similar episode on summer back in June that got a lot of downloads. So, let’s think about fall from a more philosophical perspective
You’re reading the transcript of an episode of the How to Be a Better Person podcast. If you’d rather listen, click the play button below.
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And remember, these are geared toward the Northern Hemisphere, if you are listening in South America, or Australia, or Africa, I’m sorry this doesn’t relate!!
As the earth is starting to tilt on its axis so that the northern hemisphere is leaning away from, and thus further away from, the sun, fall is a time of anticipating the darkness of winter that’s coming. This year especially, as we’re still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, that can bring up a lot of fear, or loss, or wondering how in the heck we’re going to keep holding on when we really haven’t recovered from last winter yet. So if you’re feeling this fall more acutely, it makes sense.
That sense of loss is also balanced with a celebration of the harvest–all the seeds we planted in spring and plants we nurtured during the summer are now ready to eat, and it makes it easier to feel appreciative of nature and grateful for what we have.
In fall, the trees release their leaves and so now is a time to let go of what is no longer working for us, and at the same time it’s also common to feel like a squirrel scurrying around and looking for nuts to tuck in to your metaphorical cupboards for the winter ahead.
It’s a real ping-pong of a time, and very natural to be feeling tender, unsure, and/or all over the place, or to feel optimistic one minute and ready to hide under the covers next. I
Daily Tiny Assignment
Your tiny assignment is to give a little thought to where you’re at right now both in what’s happening in your life and how you’re feeling in general, and think about which of the qualities of fall are most pertinent to you now.
Is it time for you to release some things?
Is it more of your work to appreciate, celebrate, and take care of the things you’ve grown over the last few months?
Are you feeling some sadness or fear about what’s to come?
Or are you feeling like fall is a fresh start?
Or are you feeling like a ping pong ball, bouncing back and forth between a few of these feelings? It’s certainly possible to be feeling more than one thing–and things that may feel like opposites, such a grief and appreciation, at the same time.
To me, the major takeaway is that fall is a time to embrace contradictions. The desire to let go and the desire to squirrel things for the future away. Feeling tired of the heat of the sun and scared for it to go away. Excited and relieved for the start of a new school year and scared about what it might mean for our collective health.
I don’t have answers to lead you out of those dichotomies, I’m feeling them too. I just want to normalize them, and you, and how you’re feeling.
I’ll leave you with a poem I found that really captures that “feeling two ways” feeling:
The whiskey stink of rot has settled
in the garden, and a burst of fruit flies rises
when I touch the dying tomato plants.
Still, the claws of tiny yellow blossoms
flail in the air as I pull the vines up by the roots
and toss them in the compost.
It feels cruel. Something in me isn’t ready
to let go of summer so easily. To destroy
what I’ve carefully cultivated all these months.
Those pale flowers might still have time to fruit.
However you’re feeling, know that acknowledging those feelings and being present to them will help them pass. Because nothing lasts. Not even summer. Not even fall.