Despite the Indian Summer we've been experiencing the past week, we will be welcoming Fall this Saturday, September 22nd. The Autumn Equinox is one of two days of the year when we experience nearly equal amounts of daylight and darkness. The change of seasons obviously reflects our movement around the sun, but for many of us, seasonal change also makes space for self-reflection and personal growth as well. Throughout time, Autumn has been celebrated as a season of preparation. It symbolizes looking ahead while taking inventory of what we have "stored" to get us there. Across cultures, communities have gathered together during this time to share and help nourish each other with feasts and other celebrations. After the hard work of harvest, balance was restored by practicing intentional rest and gratitude. However, in modern U.S. culture we rarely take time away from our busy ways to take advantage of this sacred opportunity to pause. The Autumn Equinox is our chance to celebrate a new season, and also to pause, reflect, take account, practice gratitude, and shed all that is not beneficial or needed.
Cleansing this time of year is equally as important as Spring cleansing. Fall cleansing allows us to make room for new growth; it is a wonderful time to simultaneously clean our homes and our bodies. I'll be embarking on an Autumn Equinox Cleanse Tuesday morning through Sunday morning. If you feel like a cleanse might be good for you, feel free to join me. I'll be focusing on 4 areas of cleansing this week:
In our culture, rushing, multitasking, and information overload are the norm for many of us. In fact, we are often encouraged and affirmed for our efficiency and high levels of performance, perpetuating the pressure to always be doing something "productive." For this 5-Day Autumn Equinox Cleanse, I am going to intentionally slow the pace of life. I will abstain from multi-tasking, and instead will focus on being intentional and fully present in each activity that I participate in. I have also cleared my calendar of evening events (with the exception of attending yoga with Terri on Thursday--Healthy Living Education this week). I plan to spend my evenings sharing slow food meals with family, reading and journaling, taking baths and snuggling with my family. I'll also be carving out 5 minutes twice daily to practice deep breathing. Seriously, it's amazing what just 5 minutes can do for the body!
We are getting ready to move at the end of the year, so this Cleanse will serve as a great opportunity to shed any remaining unnecessary or unwanted things from my home. I'll be slowly going through each room and getting rid of every item that I do not find useful or beautiful. It is important that the things we choose to store are truly beneficial for us, and not a cause of stress or burden. I'll also be shifting our diet during this transitional time--decreasing cold foods and incorporating more of the warm foods that our bodies crave during this seasonal change. Beets, carrots, ginger, celery, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, apples and squash are some of the foods that will transition into our meal plan. I'll also be sipping some detoxifying spicy teas intentionally this week to help clear out the crud stored up in my liver from summer. If you're like me, the lack of structure in summer often results in eating more junk than normal and perhaps consuming more adult beverages as well. Post-Labor Day, my body craves cleansing, so the Autumn Equinox offers a perfect opportunity to do so.
Fall is an opportunity to bring balance back to our lives. I will be practicing this Fall Equinox Slow Flow Yoga routine daily beginning Tuesday this week. Taking time to practice self-care fills me and allows me to be better able to flow out in service to those around me. I use my yoga time as a time to look inward and listen, integrating my faith practice into it as well through prayer and reflection.
When we interrupt our normal patterns during a cleanse, a unique space is created to practice self reflection. Too often we get in our own way and do whatever possible to avoid silence. However, it is within silence that we are able to truly get out of the way and listen. Rather than waiting until the end of December to assess where I'm at and look ahead, I use this reflective period around the Autumn Equinox to re-evaluate my passions and purpose, as well as my values and goals. This week I will contemplate what I am doing to make my life meaningful and to live abundantly. I will assess all of the things I am doing, and the relationships I'm involved in, and intentionally take steps towards shedding those which are not supporting my passion and purpose. I will take time to verbalize, again, what I want for my life, and also what I want to put back out into the world. I will spend the last hour before bed each night screen-free and silent, reflecting, journaling, and casting vision for what's next.
Even if you aren't able to join me in all parts of this Autumn Equinox Cleanse, I hope you will consider making time to do some version of it on your own. Don't miss out on this seasonal opportunity for reflection and preparation. This Thursday, our BE WELLness Healthy Living Education is being led by local Yoga Instructor Terri Mulford, who will be leading a stress-reducing slow flow class at our 419 Main location at 7PM. Cost is just $10. Hope to see you there!