Amy Grabowski, MA, LCPC
“Delighting in the Fall”
I’m a summer girl. I love the lake, the sand, the sun, the warm weather and flip flops. So I got to thinking as I found myself ignoring the signs that fall is surely on its way. What is it about the change in this season that is so difficult? Surely there is something nice about the changing colors on the trees, a brisk breeze while on a walk, apple cider and even football games. But appreciating the fall means letting go of all I love about the summer and looking forward to what lies ahead. The changing seasons is a reminder of the endless changes that we face in our lives.
I often encourage clients to think about changes in their lives. We talk about preparing for change, observing change, and even delighting in change. But it often takes quite some time before the process of change actually begins. So often we say things like, “But I’m comfortable here,” or “I can’t wait for this part of my life to just be over so I can get where I want to be” or “It’s impossible to make sense of what this time is really for.” Although the season ahead may be what we truly desire, many things are required to be left behind. In order to savor the present season we need to leave the comfort, safety, and familiarity of the previous season behind. No wonder it’s difficult to get moving. The shifting from one season to the next requires a belief that the coming season has exciting, fulfilling, challenging, and new purposes for us.
The movement from one season to the next dares us to let go of the old and welcome the new. It challenges us to trust that regardless of where we are in life or what situations may be happening, there is something essential for us about this time. Savoring each season involves us being in the present moment and not living for yesterday or tomorrow but right now. I know that when I remind myself to be mindful and pay attention there are so many things I notice that typically get overlooked. I notice a child’s carefree laughter, I notice the stranger that just gave me a warm smile, I notice how difficult the moment is and that I’m actually getting through it, I notice what I love about this time in my life, I notice what I need…I notice. So often all of these little moments in life get disregarded and we feel like we are just rushing through the days.
The challenge of being present for each season in our lives does not discount the fact that there are some that are more pleasant than others. There are seasons we will look back on with lovely memories and seasons we will long to put behind us. The importance is being able to fall away from the safety of the last season and eagerly anticipate what lies ahead, for this is how we truly grow. There is a great transformation that occurs in our lives as we realize that regardless of the season we can handle it. That in each season there is something intended for us, something for us to know, learn, challenge or even a joy to simply revel in. In each and every season we have the gift of the strength within us.
So as I pack my beach bag and flip flops I am challenging myself to enjoy the bright red hues of the changing leaves and get comfortable in my favorite sweater. I know that although it can be difficult to move from a season I love, surely the one to come has much potential and promise. Perhaps Ralph Waldo Emerson says it best, “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside you.”