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Settling into Autumn

I haven’t published a reflection piece lately. Throughout the summer, I practiced reflecting on life and sharing those reflections regularly. But as soon as school started, my calendar was suddenly full.

In September, I added some tutoring students. I appreciate each one, glad to be able to help with math! Our church activities also picked up. Interestingly, the church follows a school calendar and new sessions began. I joined our women’s development program, helping to facilitate discussion. I also joined our theology cohort, but because of a scheduling overlap, Ron and I are participating in that reading from home. So between tutoring preparation and studying, I discovered I needed to form a new rhythm for fall. And it is taking a few weeks to settle into a schedule that doesn’t feel too hurried or stressful.

Today on my walk, I listened to Emily P. Freeman’s episode 193: A Soul Minimalist’s Guide to Autumn. If you have never listened to Emily, why not stop right now, click on the link, and relax under her tutelage for just 16 minutes. (And no – there is no kickback, LOL, no affiliate commission whatsoever. I believe what she has to offer is so worth listening to.) You are probably familiar with minimalism in the sense of reducing stuff! But soul minimalism is about reflecting on how to intentionally identify what’s working and what is distracting us in our hearts and minds.

I’m going to use Freeman’s suggestion of five S‘s to practice this discipline of reflection – soul searching, soul minimalism.

Stance (naming where you are): Currently, I am less melancholy, more energized as this season begins. I am still carrying some questions about this past season, questions about broken relationships, about the work I see God doing in my life. Calling it curiosity!

Space (identifying seasonal systems or rhythms): As the weather cools down at night, I am looking for time to relax by the fire pit. We’ve already started opening windows late a night – especially next to our bed – I love the fresh air! And late this summer, I bought a new chair, a swivel rocker. It has become my reading, thinking spot … I add lamplight and hot tea! Simple pleasures.

See (what needs attention): I have some areas of forgiveness to work on. Not so much forgiving others but forgiving myself. That can be so difficult for one who wants to be perfect. (And yes, I am so aware that I am not perfect!) Self-acceptance is getting easier with age, but there is still work to do!

Skip (what can I let go of): As Emily carefully reminds us, planned absence doesn’t refer only to our calendars; it can also refer to things like perfection or shame. I want to skip the repeated conversations in my head that plague the wanna-be-perfect person!

Senses (what is life-giving this season): This fall, I am carving out moments for some quiet, for an edifying podcast, for reading, study, and exercise. Each of these ministers to my soul. This past week I added fall colors to the landscape of my favorite rooms in the house; next up will be finding spaces for pumpkins – bringing the beauty of the fall garden inside.

Fire, Breezes, Pumpkins, Cinnamon,
Oranges, Reds, Meditation, Long Walks
Imperfections, Forgiveness, Self-Acceptance
Believing He is Working ALL Things for GOOD!
Autumn Vibes

Need some inspiration –

Read Parker J. Palmer’s essay on The Paradox of Fall.

“In the visible world of nature, a great truth is concealed in plain sight: diminishment and beauty, darkness and light, death and life are not opposites. They are held together in the paradox of the “hidden wholeness.”

Parker Palmer

Enjoy classic poetry written about this season! Read a poem a day by the fire!

The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.   
The dark wheat listens.
Be still.
There they are, the moon’s young, trying
Their wings.

James Wright

Add #autumnmood to your Instagram feed for a bit of fall color!

Create your own playlist of Autumn Music or check out these —
Autumn by Emily Freeman
Vintage Autumn Jazz

See, in the woodland, the leaves turning crimson;
Hark, how they rustle and fall to the ground.
Autumn, bright autumn is smiling and glowing,
Showing the treasures that now may be found.

Sheaves that are golden are housed in the garner,
Fruits that have ripened are gathered and stored.
Autumn has come with its bounteous blessing,
Riches and beauty are freely out-poured.

Life has its autumn, its sheaves to be garnered,
Then we shall reap what at first we have sown;
Grant us, O Father, Thy grace and Thy guidance,
Let us be reapers of blessings alone.

Praise the Creator who giveth us richly
All His good bounty to use and enjoy;
Lift up your hearts and your voices in singing,
Joyful thanksgiving the days should employ.

Julia Johnston 1849-1919
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