As the air cools and the leaves turn, I’m reminded of a quote my Grandad used to tell me:
“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”
Most people really start to moan as soon as Autumn hits as it signifies the end of summer. The reality of colder weather, going back to school and spending less time outside tend to hit home. However, for me Autumn is a pretty wonderful time. I think this stems from my Grandfather taking me chestnut picking the day after the clocks turned back, my love of bonfires and cosy clothes and also some of the beautiful poetry Autumn has inspired. It’s only recently that I’ve realised this season represents a great metaphor in showing us how we can let go.
The change in season truly does signal a loss in nature. We may notice the spectacular beauty of autumn trees and forget that the next step involves the trees letting those leaves go. As they drop to the ground, they become the carpet that crunches beneath our feet. The trees prepare for winter, and then there’s rebirth again in the spring. It’s an annual cycle.
Why Don’t we Let Go?
Sometimes we forget we are natural beings and our lives also have cycles. There are times we hold on, and there are the times that we have to learn to let go. When we do, when we let go of the things that are no longer serving us and the people who no longer bring joy to our lives, we make room for new things to enter our lives.
But, while it seems beautiful for the trees to let go of all those lovely leaves, we rarely think of the letting go in our own lives as being beautiful. Often, we simply view it through the lens of loss. It hurts to let go, so we hold on, even if all we have left to hold onto are our memories of those feelings.
Everything that happens in our lives can have lessons for us if we’re willing to be taught. Even loss and change can be catalysts for growth if we allow it.
My Relationship with Loss and Change
I’ve had a few tough lessons over the years, and each one taught me that the things I viewed from the perspective of loss alone, were actually growth opportunities that opened the door to some wonderful changes in my life.
The loss of a friend made me angry and lonely. Being bullied as a child made me scared and wanting to make everyone around me like me. Being treated badly in a relationship made me want to hang on to that person despite them being awful to me as being alone felt like a worse option. I could never let go.
During counseling, reiki, meditation and other therapies the same comments came up. I was told that I was hanging on to an overwhelming amount of trauma from my past and until I let that go I would be in limbo – a word often associated with depression. My depression has indeed put my life on hold for years, made me cling to the status quo as I wanted stability when my brain was so unstable.
A few months ago I was given a new job in the company I have been with for fifteen years, a company that haven’t been too consistent in supporting my mental illness. After a few weeks I realised that I had no love left for that company, no motivation to do this new role so for the first time in my life I made the decision to let go. I took redundancy and I am now alone, and I’m a bit scared.
The Past Can Hinder Your Future (if you let it)
Lets go back to the trees, they change themselves in order to let go and adapt to their environment. However, for a few months they stand alone, stripped bare of all their covering of leaves, confident that in Spring they will renew and come back stronger and better than ever.
That’s how I’m trying to be right now. I’m bracing for winter and trusting that the universe will show me that there is so much more to my life than the simple things I had intended.
I wonder sometimes what blessings and opportunities I’ve blocked by refusing to let go. I’ve thought about it from so many perspectives—my education, work, friendships, and relationships. How has my reluctance to adapt stood in the way of something spectacular coming my way?
Maybe what we’re holding on to is an idea. Maybe it’s a life plan or a timetable. Maybe we’re holding onto who we were told we should be rather than who we truly are. Maybe we’re staying in a relationship that’s no longer right for us. Or, spending time with friends who no longer feel like our tribe.
A counsellor once told me that I had problems saying ‘goodbye’ as I had been abandoned quite a bit as a child – maybe that’s why I have this desperate need in me more than most. Despite that I am a firm believer that every state is temporary, even one you’ve been in for years and I can change.
Letting Go is Incredible
Autumn shows us that letting go is beautiful, and yet all we see in our own lives is the loss. For some reason we feel comfortable with control, but maybe the phrase ‘it’s better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’ is b*llshit. Maybe by ditching the devil you know and trusting being alone for a while means an angel will come into your life and sweep you off your feet.
I’m now actively trying to let go and it’s not easy. Much like a child that has a toy confiscated, my instinct is to grab on to whatever is drifting away from me. But, it is a practice, and each time that we try to hold on, we need to remind ourselves to loosen our grip. It’s like a muscle that gets stronger when we use it, and we slowly become more adept at letting things (and people) leave us.
How I’m Practising
To help myself I’m doing a few things. Firstly, I’m breathing and remembering that it’s not a race to my next success and I should enjoy my winter state of being stripped back and free. I may travel to India, spend more time with my parents and deepen my yoga practice so when my springtime comes I’m a richer (in life) person.
I’m also manifesting. Focusing on what I am and will be.
The life I want to live is possible. Having depression and anxiety means I had no plan or goals, indeed living day to day was all I could do at times. However, not having a carefully planned life plan isn’t a bad thing as life doesn’t fit into a plan.
It Won’t Be Easy
Like the seasons our lives change. The past is a heavy burden to carry and keeps us from focusing on the present moment. It can hinder us from moving toward a better future. So, instead we become lost in old patterns and find our gaze drawn back to the past.
Change can be unsettling, even devastating but it can also be a fierce and beautiful opportunity. When we allow ourselves to let go and to accept what is, we can open our eyes to this moment now.
Take time to live in the moment. Appreciate the smells, visions, feel and sounds of right now. Appreciate it, don’t try and control it and watch the past blow away with the autumn leaves.