27 Oct Finding the Quiet

Find me sitting on the edge of this season, my fingers digging through the dirt, a handful of fragile, gold goodbyes.  My lungs, a map of all the places I have ever breathed.  The palms of my hands vibrate with the memory of other hands, and I am convinced the smoke of every fire is a whisper past the parts of life that we can see.  This is the season of remembering.

This is also the time of year I find it hardest to make space for these quiet introspections, to have conversations with myself about the road I’ve traveled so far, to say goodbye to what is no longer serving me and submit to the promise of the beginnings ahead.  This is important work, but I so often see these evenings and weekends full of anything but the solitude it requires.  These days, I have found, can be especially demanding of transplants.  As the holidays approach, we get caught in the balancing act of making sure we spend time with friends and loved ones we might not see on a regular basis.  We get invited to parties, and if we don’t show up, we might miss our chance to meet some new people and find our groove in a spot that doesn’t quite feel like home just yet.  We have to figure out gifts and visiting in laws and who’s going where for which holiday and for how long.  The to-do lists have the potential to be never-ending, but this post is giving you encouragement to STOP.

I always make it to autumn, and there is something in the hint of a frost at night that makes me excited for the silence that comes with cold.  I get these visions of spending evenings eating soup and drinking hot toddies, finishing a novel every two days, spending at least an hour every night doing nothing but putting pen to paper, exploring the woods and raking in the scent of fresh air, jumping in leaf-mountains the size of small houses.  And yet, in spite of that relentless tug toward reveling in the connection that I find very unique to these months, I get home from work and I’m almost automatically occupied with something I’ve either planned to do weeks ago, or something I’ve fallen into (social media scrolling/cleaning/making an elaborate meal/Netflix).

This is not at all to say that being busy is bad for you.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with social butterfly-ing the heck out of life for a little while (as long as you have the energy to sustain it!!!), but I think it’s also incredibly important to have time and give yourself space to feel the serious feels.  More often than not, that requires some sacrifices.  Sometimes that means saying “no” to the late night at Tellus360 (luhhhve you, Tellus).  Sometimes that means telling your family that you need a weekend in your own place.  Sometimes that takes asking your significant other to take a walk around the neighborhood without you.  Sometimes that means you shut your bedroom door and don’t come out for awhile.  It’s okay.  Do that.

If you can swing a few days in your schedule to take a time-out during this season of change and you’re looking to connect to the intangibles, here are some humble suggestions:

  • Burn things. I mean it.  Safely, of course—think fire pit, or any kind of small, semi-enclosed area.  Write some things down about what you’ve struggled with this year.  Write down things that you spent too much energy on, things that happened you’re not super proud of, things that you feel unnecessarily guilty about.  Write them all down, rip up the paper you’ve written on, and light it up.  I’ve done this before, and the wonder that comes in watching your troubles flower into a glow, in understanding that you’ve let them go and they are no longer yours to hold, is pretty indescribable.
  • Write yourself a letter. Write a loved one a letter.  Write a letter to someone you’ve lost.  Without getting too woo-woo, this is a powerful time of year.  Our souls seem to experience things in a slightly different way as we turn towards days with lessening light, and there’s a magic to spending some time reflecting, in remembering what the year so far has whispered in our ears.
  • BE outside. Our part of the world is doing some important things this time of year, and the evidence of a natural, intentional cycle never ceases to amaze me.  Fall, in particular, reminds me that we, much like the world we live in, experience cycles in our lives and gives me hope that, if this year really hasn’t gone my way, there’s a serious possibility the next time around could be different.  There is promise in change, and autumn illustrates the potential beauty of that promise every trip around the sun.

Feel free to comment on rituals that you have found to be meaningful when you need to reconnect, or how you deal with the pressures this time of year can bring—especially as a transplant.

Wishing you all some magic and warmth as the temperatures start to dip and the days begin to shorten.  Love.

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