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New World Library Unshelved

New World Library Unshelved

Positive news and inspiring views from the New World Library community


Monday, September 23, 2013
Falling into Fall by guest blogger Sara Avant Stover
 

In her lovely book, The Way of the Happy Woman, Sara Avant Stover shows how simple, natural, and refreshingly accessible practices can minimize stress and put us back in sync with our own cycles and those of nature. Here she offers insights into how we can make the most of the upcoming fall season.

Autumn is my favorite time of the year, perhaps because I grew up in Connecticut surrounded by the splendor of changing leaves. The season’s crisp winds, golden light, and first days of school instill a fresh, buzzing, alive feeling inside. I feel inspired to complete unfinished projects before the holidays, and I love bringing out cuddly winter sweaters, woolly scarves, and cozy tights. Long walks through crinkly leaves remind me of romping in leaf piles on my way home from school as a young girl.

The magic of the season extends deeper than our wardrobes, though, for during these crucial months, nature prepares for her long winter’s rest and teaches us to do the same. It is time to gather, store, organize, and wind down from summer’s high tempo and the relentless forward momentum that modern living usually demands. When the crisp winds of autumn start to blow, we need to tune in to the signal that it’s time to start slowing down. As leaves fall to the ground, they decay and merge with the earth once again. We too are in the process of letting things wither and fall away to gather only what is essential for the winter months. We’re reminded that, eventually, we have to let go of everything in order to die countless little deaths in each of our lifetimes, and this ultimately prepares us for the final letting go.

The dark and the light live in equal measure on the fall equinox on September 22, and from there the days grow shorter and shorter until the longest night of the year arrives with the winter solstice. In the Jewish tradition Rosh Hashanah calls in the new year, and for Muslims Ramadan is the holiest point in the year, a time to purify and strengthen our connection to God. Hindus mark the coming of winter with Navratri, or “the nine nights of the goddess.”

Just as people of these faiths step out of their lives to pray and honor the larger cycles of life, we too intuitively respond to this season’s changes by spending more time at home with our families and immersed in projects and study. This contracting quality draws us not only into our homes but also deeper into our inner, emotional worlds — a big difference from the playful, carefree exuberance of summer. Now’s the time to reap the benefits from the past six months and appreciate all the ways you’ve grown and flowered. It’s time to start spending more time alone to see how those outward expansions translate to your inner spiritual and creative life. What’s essential? What will you take with you into the dreamtime of the winter, and what will you leave behind?

SARA AVANT STOVER, founder of the Way of the Happy Woman™, pioneered yoga teaching in Thailand and is a Yoga Alliance teacher trainer at the 500-hour level. She travels the world leading women’s events and lives in Boulder, Colorado.



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