News and How-tos

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The Seasons are Changing: Are You Ready?

September 23rd was the Fall Equinox– one of two days during the year that day and night are equals. We are transitioning from Summer to Fall, and where I live this means colorful leaves on the trees, more frequent rainfall, dark and cloudy days, and even darker nights. It is getting chillier, but is still too warm for a coat. Commuters still get to see some daylight, but it is getting dark earlier in the evening and staying dark later into the morning.

We are on the cusp between two seasons. Most people I know are mourning the summer that seems too short. And yet, many of us are looking forward to cooler weather, rain, and pumpkins as a major ingredient in just about everything.

Sometimes, being on the cusp of transition is scary, especially when moving into the unknown. Some people cling to the place they are leaving  and prolong the inevitable as long as possible. Other people jump head first into the new adventure without even glancing at what they are leaving behind. And yet other people find a way to pause mid-transition, allowing themselves to mourn the past, become re-acquainted with themselves, and then move forward with the future.

Are you rushing from one thing to the next without giving yourself time to reflect? If so, you are not alone. We rarely have the opportunity to pause between careers, changes in living arrangements, the effects of births and deaths in the family, etc. And even if we do have the opportunity, people are shamed (by themselves and/or others) for taking time to work through change. It appears unproductive and selfish, so it must be a waste of time. And yet, the real waste of time is revisiting the situation over and over again because we did not properly process the change in the first place.

For further reading on this topic, I recommend the following book to anyone who is working through a transition–

Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, by William Bridges

Even though this revised edition is ten years old, transition is an experience that is always relevant. We regularly and repeatedly go through transitions throughout our lifetimes. Bridge’s treatment of the subject is spot on and contains many potential “aha” moments for those in the middle of change. And for those of us who get antsy in the Neutral Zone, he provides an important reminder that the period between states is vital for a complete transition. If we try to skip that step, we end up with an incomplete transition that repeats ad infinitum until we allow ourselves to fully experience the Neutral Zone.

I think the Fall Equinox is a good time to practice moving through the phases of transition. Give yourself some time and space to mourn the loss of long summer days, allow yourself to enjoy this in-between state of warmish/coolish weather and colorful foliage, and then look forward and prepare yourself to enjoy the upcoming crisp weather and fall festivities. Taking the time to experience and consciously process the changes in seasons provides a model for doing the same during more ambiguous changes in our lives.

Now, how about some pumpkin cookies?

 Picture from "Pumpkin Spiced and Iced Cookies " Recipe found on Vicci's Moon, Stars, and Paper blog: http://moonstarsandpaper.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_archive.html

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