By Donna D’Cruz
“Inside of us, there’s a continual autumn. Our leaves fall and are blown out over the water.” —Rumi
Welcome to fall, a distinct change of season where Mother Nature sheds herself by letting go and preparing for the next chapter. It’s seemingly effortless, yet filled with its own unique struggles.
Autumn’s energy speaks of creative expression, introspection and harvesting. Notice the complex feelings that might ignite in you as the days shorten and the weather becomes cooler. This space is a wonderful time to reflect. According to author and Zen Buddhist Gary Thorp, autumn leaves falling on the ground remind us about the virtue of letting go and the cyclical power of Mother Nature. We can quietly sit and observe the ancient way the trees so wisely know when to share their leaves—a symbol of the past.
The actual, everyday “art of letting go” can feel easier said than done. Here are some steps that I incorporate as part of my active daily dose.
Self-Reflection: Take time to identify the grievances you’re holding on to, and the emotions associated with them. Are you attached to the suffering, or to the story you have created around this hurt?
Breathe in: I expand my instincts.
Breathe out: I release my grievances.
Acknowledge Feelings: Accept your emotions without judgment. It’s OK to feel hurt, anger or sadness.
Breathe in: I witness my emotions.
Breathe out: I release my judgment.
Practice Forgiveness: Start with yourself. Become an active participant in dynamically crafting a path of ridding old hurts and creating new, more compassionate ways of embracing self-love. Begin the process of forgiving those whom you blame for causing your pain. This doesn’t mean condoning their actions, but releasing yourself from the burden of anger. It works.
Breathe in: I welcome forgiveness, starting with me.
Breathe out: I forgive and let go.
Letting Go: Visualize releasing the negative emotions associated with the grievances, imagining them floating away. Bye bye, thanks for the potent lessons, I’m ready to release and move on.
Breathe in: I expand.
Breathe out: I am free.
Focus on the Present: Redirect your energy toward the present moment and your own well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. You release your angst entangled with the past when you get present. That’s the gift of presence.
Breathe in: I release the past.
Breathe out: I am present.
Practice Mindfulness: Techniques like meditation and deep breathing can help you stay centered and prevent dwelling on the past. A meditation practice is not a practice to perfect, but rather to do every day to build spiritual muscles.
Breathe in: I breathe in positive energy.
Breathe out: I am positive.
Seek Closure: If appropriate, have open conversations with those involved to find closure and understanding. Knock, and the door opens.
Professional Help: If the grievances are deeply impacting your mental health, consider seeking therapy or counseling for guidance and support.
“Autumn wins you best by this, its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.” —Robert Browning
Remember that all processes take time, patience and dedication—it’s a journey. Celebrate small victories along the way, and be kind to yourself throughout it all.
Tune in for weekly Dip Into Bliss meditations every Thursday at 5PM with Cristina Cuomo and Donna D’Cruz on Instagram, @donnadcruz1 and @cristinacuomo; donnadcruz.com