The Christo in Rio de Janiero, taken on a rainy October weekend

The Christo in Rio de Janiero, taken on a rainy October weekend

The rhythm of our life is slowing down now.  Its the way of autumn.  With the birthday celebrations and the hullaballoo of the start of the new school year behind us, we are settling into the quiet of fall.    Tonight I kissed Max goodnight and went through the rituals that he needs to let go of his fears and drift off to sleep.  A book, a cuddle, an extra check of the doors.  “Yes they are locked my dear.  You can sleep now.”  He is frightened of being alone.  I assure him that while I will get up I will be back soon and I will be here when morning comes.  He holds my hand as he drifts  into sleep.

I find that the days between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice are a time of introspection for me.  I find myself turning inward, pulling away into myself a bit.  Its a time of reflection and soul repair.  I actually feel myself slowing down, becoming less social.  I call less, email less, talk less.  I am still more.  I sit and listen to the noise of the outside, to the house breathing. 

And frankly, sometimes I am a bit uncomfortable in this place.  I prefer the energy of loud dinner parties, of boisterous giggling, of passing the wine and sharing food.  Because it is here in this quiet solitary place I hear my fears speaking to me.  And nothing scares me more than fear.

But I am at peace knowing that I am not alone here.  While spring seems to be the universal season of renewal, autumn seems to be the time to struggle with fear.  As the darkness lengthens we face our demons at Halloween, mark our grief and mourning on el dia de los muertos or All Souls Day, look inward and repent on Yom Kippur.  I take comfort in knowing that many souls before me have walked this path and created rituals that allow us to face our fears and then let them go.  I am not out of sorts as I drift into myself, no I am just following the anciet rhythms of the season.

Two years ago late in October, I went to Rio de Janiero with my friend Eddie.  We had spent the week running a training in Sao Paolo and he convinced me we deserved a trip to the beach.  It rained the whole time we were there.  One day we both felt the need for some alone time.  He hiked along the mountains and the beach while I wandered down the streets of Ipanema, in and out of coffeehouses, bookstores and music shops along the stormy shore.  After awhile I realized that my mind had grown completely quiet.  I was alone, as alone as absolutely possible–wandering in a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language on a rainy day in a city known for its beaches on the opposite side of the globe from almost everyone I loved.  I had spent the whole season creating so much noise and activity around me, fearful of being alone, fearful of my fears.  But when I sat with them quietly on the streets of Ipanema they became the consistency of mist, and I  was able to let them go.

Jen Lemen recently posted about this beautiful ritual to let go of fear and things that weigh you down.  I am dying to try it myself.   It is all that I can do not to abandon my loved ones and work to drive to the countryside tomorrow.  Short of returning to Rio, I think it is the perfect ritual to mark the inward turning season of fall and to face those fears that lurk in the shadows.  Because I have a bunch I need to face and then I need to let them go  I need to let them slip away like mist so I can rest peacefully in the quiet darkness of the winter.

One Response to “The Rhythm of Autumn”

  1. Back to School - Meg Casey Says:

    […] am not afraid of the internal journey that autumn seems to announce.  Last year I feared the longer quiet school nights that spoke of family time.  I was fearful […]