The New Three R’s: Relax, Reflect, Recharge
(Read this is less than five minutes)“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look there.”~Marcus Aurelius
I know, I overthink, but does anyone else start pondering life a little more deeply when the season changes from summer to fall? We can feel it in the air. The sun snuggles into the horizon a little bit earlier each evening and reluctantly leaves his bed a little later at dawn. At sunrise, the air is crisp, cool, and damp and the spider webs glisten with dew. Cicadas and crickets strum sad choruses, reminding us that summer is stepping aside and ushering in the next season. There is an unmistakable feeling of change.
The land begins to take on a new color palette, softer and slightly more subdued, as the crops and flowers start drying down and begin their miraculous process of producing seed for the next year. We may call it autumn, Indian summer, fall, or harvest time and for many of us, it’s our favorite time of year. But not everyone welcomes fall. For some, it feels sad somehow, because it hints at the approach of winter’s cold and bleakness. Does this happen to you?
Our little family lived close to the land for many years and it gave us a front row seat every day to the rhythm of the earth. Planting, waiting and growing, harvesting then resting gave us beautiful metaphors for life. Most of the time, I find reassurance in the way one season welcomes the next. As dependable as gravity, winter gives way to spring and spring bursts into summer. As the earth continues its circle around the sun, autumn arrives and when fall’s colorful celebration winds down, winter comes to bring rest and rebirth.
In December of 1965, a rock band, The Byrds, brought a passage from the book of Ecclesiastes to the mainstream with their hit song Turn, Turn, Turn and it shot to the top of the charts in that angst-filled era. I’m sure people remember the lyrics of the song more than they do the verses in scripture, but they are powerful and wise. In case you’ve forgotten (which I seriously doubt) here are a couple of passages from the famous number.
“A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
and a time to every purpose, under heaven.”
The turning of this season finds me with a head full of questions again and I’m searching for answers. It comforts me to know I’m not alone. It may have something to do with how incredibly complex life has become and about how many of us feel caught up in a state of overwhelm.
We think we’re the first ask these questions, challenging the norm, busting a few moves, shaking things up a bit. But it’s nothing new. We’re asking the same questions as men wrestled with some 2000 years ago. Maybe the most common question is the most perplexing one of all. “How did I end up like this?” To know the answers, we need to dig deeper and ask even harder questions like “What is my purpose in life?” “What’s most important to me?” “How can I live in a way that best reflects my most cherished, worthy beliefs?”
I believe the first question to ask is “Is this important enough for me to give it time for reflection?” We know the answer. I know. It’s hard to find even a few minutes to quiet our minds but September, ah, September! With its cerulean blue skies and beautiful weather, it’s a perfect time! Find a place to sit, get still, and think about how you’d like to wrap up this year of your life. It’s so worth it.
The feature image, my brother’s striking image of a majestic tree, is a favorite photo of mine, I love it! He made me a large print I could frame as a reminder to look for that pause in my life more often. In the first chapter of our summary of How To Know Your Why and Why It Matters, I used the next photo with him sitting on a bench, contemplating trees. It made me smile to know the place felt sacred enough for him to seek it out and spend some time there with his own thoughts and questions. The day he took this picture, he sat himself down and took some time to reflect.
“A man must find time for himself. Time is what we spend our lives with. If we are not careful we find others spending it for us. . . . It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness; to sit on a rock in the forest and to ask of himself, ‘Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?”
~ Carl Sandburg
I encourage you to make this season a time for renewal. We all get a single, precious one-way ticket for our journey through life so I wholeheartedly believe it will be time well spent. There is no better time than on a perfect sparkling September day to begin. I’m looking forward to hearing what life tells you when you take the time to slow down and listen. I hope you’ll share!