Spiritual Practices

The Seasons as a Spiritual Practice

September 22, 2017

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” ~Emily Bronte

Welcome to Fall 2017!

We all have our favorite season of the year and for many it is fall.

I also love the Fall season, and I’m reminded of it’s beauty as I was raking leaves with my daughter this morning.

The fresh cooler air, the sound of dry leaves cracking under foot, and the shorter days.

Growing up in New England, I was blessed with the amazing and colorful displays of the fall foliage. Tourist would flock to Vermont and New Hampshire just to witness the beautiful event which only lasted a few weeks or so. “Leaf peeping” became a ritual for many families as they would talk about when and where the best colors were to be found.

The seasons can also be a powerful spiritual practice.

Watching the changes that take place in nature during this time of year are great reminders of how life is all about change. The leaves change color, first bright, beautiful yellows and reds, then the colors fade to brown before falling to the ground.

As each year passes, we look back at how we’ve grown, how we’ve been blessed, and at the challenges we’ve faced.

I’m smiling today as I remember the kind people I’ve met this year, the beautiful sights I’ve been blessed to visit, and the warmth and love of family and friends that fill my life.

Autumn is a great time of year to become more present to the changes all around you.

The falling, dying leaves remind us that someday we too will pass away. I use this lesson to listen more to my loved ones, be more present with my children, and enjoy the gifts given to me each day.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ~ Psalm 90:12

I love this verse from the Psalms. I like to use it as reminder to use our days, and lives, wisely. Each day I wake up and try to make each day count and to embrace the change that is always happening around me.

As the years go by, I would like to think I am “gaining a heart of wisdom”.

My spiritual practice is integral to this process. Here are a few suggestions to embrace the change that the Autumn season teaches us.

1. Wake up early and find a special place to pray outside. Feel the cooler air of Autumn on your skin and say a prayer of gratitude for the lessons that nature can teach us.

2. Go for a walk among the trees and witness the changes happening all around you. Listen to the birds, insects, and animals. Smell the fresh, cool air moving over the Earth and in the mist of the dawn.

3. Find a way to capture these beautiful fleeting, moments. Bring your camera to record the light of the sun, low on the horizon. Print out a photo and put it somewhere as a reminder of this transformative time of year. Paint, draw, or write your reflections of these early morning strolls. Using a journal to record your thoughts, insights, and prayers is an especially good way to deepen this spiritual practice.

This practice can of course be done anytime of day and anywhere. I personally find the morning a great time because my mind is fresh, and I’m usually more receptive to the spirit at that time. For you, the night time might be better.

I encourage you to take advantage of nature’s beauty this fall and witness the changes day by day. The more often you can go outside and do this practice the better. The more chances you will have to hear the soft voice of God working through this beautiful time of year.

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