Autumn Leaves & Letting Go, RevisitedOct 11, 2023
In Autumn 2020, I wrote a post called, Let’s Face it, Letting Go Isn’t Always as Beautiful as the Autumn Leaves Make It Out to Be.
It was a response to that meme that floods my feed every Fall, telling me that Nature is just about to show us how beautiful it can be to let go.
Back then, I wrote, “Ugh…if I see this one more time, I think I’ll scream. Of course, letting go can be beautiful. It can also be really hard and not very pretty at all.”
Now, it’s time for an update, because I’ve learned some helpful things about letting go since then.
Firstly, contemplating nature more deeply has helped me to understand, in my bones, that dissolution is essential for something new to emerge.
The fallen tree in the forest seems tragic, until you witness new life flourishing in the soil beneath its unearthed roots. We can learn from the more-than-human world how necessary and perfectly natural it is to release the old to make space for the new.
Secondly, I’ve recently extended the time I sit for meditation. That’s taught me a lot about letting go.
Watching the cycles of my breath (itself a profound lesson on surrender) allows me to sit with the busyness of my mind, and the discomfort of difficult feelings when they surface. I observe how allowing thoughts and feelings to arise and subside eventually, yet consistently, gives way to an abiding calm and inner stability.
Thirdly, in postural practice I’ve made peace with saying goodbye to fancy poses that no longer serve me. It’s liberating to welcome in the simpler, subtler practices that feel more appropriate at this stage of my life.
All of this has made me more comfortable with the gradual unfolding of bigger transitions in my life. I’m more willing to inhabit that liminal space where one thing has dissolved, and the next phase has yet to fully materialize. I’m more able to sit with the sense of groundlessness that can accompany it.
When you’re able to trust that what’s on the other side of uncertainty or loss lies a new beginning, it becomes evident that your role is to hold a clear intention, take the right next steps, and stay attuned to the emerging path forward.
The sensibilities honed in yoga prepare you to adapt to change, weather transitions, and navigate loss with greater resilience.
While our own experience of letting go might not always mirror the grace and beauty of the Autumn leaves, I bet that if we’re willing to keep evolving, we’ll get closer.