We have entered autumn, and unlike many, I am sad about it. Yes, the cooler temperatures are nice. Yes, I am a member of the Pumpkin Spice Latte fandom, and I have already had quite a few of them. Yes, I enjoy the season’s offerings of football, Halloween, and Día de los Muertos. But, even as cozy season sets in, I hate to see the daylight hours getting shorter. I dread the leaves falling off the trees. I don’t really mind the lawn going dormant, but that means the flowers are going dormant, too. My brain is going to start in with seasonal affective disorder, and my inner grizzly bear will just want to eat carbs and go hibernate for the next six months or so. I even live in central Texas, which means winter is usually a pretty mild affair (not you, February 2021), and I know I should count myself lucky to have that, but I can feel the gray days coming.
I am a summer girl through and through. Give me the sunshine, hot days, and swimming pool/lake/beach excursions ad infinitum. I want to wear t-shirts, shorts, and sandals forever. I am so serious about Summer, I chased it all the way to the southern hemisphere one year. It was glorious! I do enjoy the other seasons…especially when they run through the holidays, but after New Year…the blahs are going to get entrenched. Sure, I can listen to the Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffet and drool over Australian surfers, but nothing replaces those long summer days. I need the sunlight!
So, I have decided to try something different this year: Intention. Saying farewell to summer with intention, and welcoming autumn with anticipation will (I hope) direct my brain into a different groove than the same old depressed track. I know it’s going to happen, so if I try to be proactive, hopefully I can curtail my carb cravings and resist the urge to sleep.
I think saying goodbye to summer needs to involve the five senses, so I am going to have a final summer day, embracing the things I love most one more time. I am going to wear my favorite summer outfit, flipflops and all. I will put on Coppertone sunscreen for the scent of childhood nostalgia, and pack a beach bag for a day trip. The radio will be cued up to my summer playlist. I will get one last snow cone (my favorite flavor is wedding cake), and I will take that solo drive to the coast for a day of beachcombing and wading into the salty surf—it’s chilly but not too bad. I’ll let the sun dry me off, while I gaze at the horizon. I will be distracted by the pelicans flying in formation, trying to catch the perfect photo of their fly-by. The coastal breeze might be brisk, so I’ll need my tie-dyed sweatshirt. I’ll make one last stop for some fresh ceviche before heading home, and then tune into a baseball game on the radio. Something about baseball is so quintessentially summer. When I get home, for the sake of honoring that beachy goodbye, I am going to make a little jar with the beachcombing finds to set on my writing desk so I can be reminded of the trip whenever I’m feeling lonely for summer.
The next thing to do is one part goodbye, and one part hello: taking a dive into the too cold for me swimming pool.
Why do I need to take this plunge?! Well, I’ve decided that cozy season this year is going to be challenged by a daily outdoor reset. I clearly crave the outdoors in the summertime, so I am intentionally choosing an outdoor interaction that requires me to center myself and jump in. Yes, I can go for walks and hikes at a more pleasant temperature, but the benefits of the cold-water plunge are also going to directly undo some of what the short daylight hours do to my brain. Traditional in Scandinavian countries, and embraced by various other cultures globally, cold-water swimming has been touted to cure numerous ailments from arthritis and fibromyalgia to asthma and anxiety. Scientists agree that there is an anti-depressant effect for those who choose to undertake cold therapy regularly. It sounds doable, so I’m in. The plus is that I associate swimming with summer. And now I’m going to associate it with autumn, too.
The rest of the process requires an intentional welcoming of the new season. I want to focus on the aspects that I love, while armed with tools to combat the call of hibernation. In addition to the pumpkin spice, there will be trips to a pumpkin patch, foraging for pecans, attending some local football games, learning some new fall recipes, returning to last year’s crochet project, and cracking open one of the books I’ve been meaning to read. There will be a hard anniversary mixed into this season for me, and I hope to honor my mom with some of her favorite things as well (mulled cider, Thanksgiving, and doing cross-stitch).
The point is to recognize the tendency of my past (negative) associations and replace them with positive associations. To challenge myself to experience something new. To break out of old patterns and create new ones with intention. I want to honor what I cherish, and to embrace new experiences with hope. And to be grateful for all of it.
I invite you to take some moments to ponder this seasonal transition with a goodbye to what was, and a welcome to what will be.
I give you these mantras to take with you:
As one chapter ends, another begins.
I am thankful for yesterday, and I am ready for tomorrow.
May my heart be filled with sunshine. May my soul carry the light.
I carry the light.
Will you take the challenge of creating new experiences this season? I hope so!
As ever my friends,
INSPIRATIONS THIS WEEK
We’re feeling inspired by these incredible and thought provoking pieces:
- Nicole Mann becomes first Native woman to go to space with latest SpaceX mission Mann is a Marine Corps pilot, NASA astronaut and member of the Wailacki tribe of the Round Valley Indian Tribes.
- Petting Dogs Engages the Social Brain, According to Neuroimaging – Neuroscience News Interacting with dogs leads to greater activation in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with emotional and social processing.
- Biden Pardons Weed Convictions, Fulfilling the ‘Dank Brandon’ Prophecy The latest evolution of the bizarro ‘Brandon’ meme has the president puffing on top-shelf bud
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