Summer has surrendered to fall, bringing new challenges like getting used to the “fall back” time change and wearing warmer clothing. It was easy for me to get up early and walk for an hour in spring and summer. Now the hot sun and light breezes have yielded to grey clouds and cold winds. I’ve marched out later the last few mornings, bundled up and seeking a walking path with the wind at my back. The benefit of this somewhat hostile environment is that it has empowered me to focus inward. As I walk, my stride lengthens, my pace quickens. Deep breaths come easier, and before I know it, in I slide to mindfulness. Easy mantras serve me well, no matter what challenges the weather presents. One of my favorites comes from 13th century poet and Sufi mystic Rumi – “Life is a balance of holding on and letting go” - simple, precise words that flow well together and carry a deep message. As I repeat it, I become more convinced the word “life” could be replaced with other familiar words without changing the meaning. For example, it makes just as much sense to say, “Yoga is a balance of holding on and letting go.” Breathing exercises frequently feature an inhale, a hold, and an exhale and are used to balance energy or offload stress. Holding on to the inhale creates a slight deficit in the body that is renewed only by letting go. “Love is a balance of holding on and letting go” makes perfect sense too. Proud parents cry at their children’s weddings not because they’re sad but because they remember their own weddings and the years of love and challenges that brought them to their own child’s marriage. In the natural world, the ocean tide flows to the shore, holds for a moment, and releases the water back into the sea. This natural rhythm reflects the coming together of the gravitational pull of the moon and sun with the rotation of our Earth. Day gives way to night and night to day, fall will soon become winter then winter will bring us spring – and another time change! Yet these changes are as natural as the workings of the human body that sustain life. The better care we take care of our bodies and our environment, the easier it is to stay balanced, following the natural order of life on our planet. I believe this natural order gives us a beautiful example to follow in our relationships and the choices we make to sustain the life in our connections; our community. There are times when we hold on to friends and loved ones and times when we release them, not completely and not forever but during those intervals when they need some space. By supporting them, we give ourselves the opportunity to become givers and helpers. We’ve got their back, knowing they’ll have ours soon enough.
*Life well spent is long. ~ Leonardo da Vinci