Less Daylight, More Reflection!

This time of year always makes me think about change. Everything around us is in transition from full, vibrant, explosive life, toward a recession of vibrancy. Fall is the season that encourages us to buckle down and push headlong into something new—both literally and figuratively.

When the weather changes (at least in most parts of the country—not quite here in LA yet), we bundle up, turn inward and get to watch things around us turn rust-colored, barren and very thin as winter heads nearer. In this literal time of transition, it is obvious how the bundling of our outer-worlds and the observation of life moving from full to sparse is representative of a death of sorts.

This death needs to be seen as a transition into our hibernation or incubation process. Yes, that part doesn’t really come until later on in the season, when there is far less daylight and loads of darkness; but, just like animals sense the season is changing and they prepare for it, we must also.

When the weather gets cooler, birds fly south, squirrels stash nuts away, and bears eat boatloads of food because they know their survival depends on it. Just like these animals that prepare for what is to come, this is a time for us to prepare in our own individual ways for the days that lie ahead in fall and winter. What kinds of things do we want to see ourselves doing in the next 30 days? Do we intend to be more self-reflective and spend more time journaling or meditating? Are we planning on being more social with friends and/or family? In whatever way you can, during this time of year, begin preparations in your physical world for what is to come.

For me, I tend to notice that in my private practice, my clients get more anxious around the holidays. I have to prepare myself for this so that I can be of service to them in the best way possible. Knowing what this season holds, I find that the preparations make it easier to navigate those waters. Getting into more mindful meditation before going into work helps both my clients and me.

In my personal life, I know that I’d like to bump up my physical exercise and go on more walks with my husband and my sister now that the weather is cooling off. But what if I didn’t have a pair of tennis shoes? This is a necessary component of my goal. Preparations don’t always have to be based off of what we know lies ahead; often they are best when they are based on what we sense or hope lies ahead.

Buckle down right now. Dig into what you have deep inside you and begin to make your preparations to rethink something you’ve wanted to change. This hibernation and incubation period represents a time that is deeply valuable to our growth as human beings, for without this seasonal change, there would not come a springtime.

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Trinka is a counselor and has run her private practice in Los Angeles for 20 years. She was Mastin’s personal therapist for many years. Check out her website here.