I have always found it fascinating that nature moves in cycles. We have the cycles of the seasons, the moon cycle, the water cycle and so many more. There is no stopping the cyclical motion of the natural world. It just simply happens.
We have now shifted into the season of Autumn. It is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the cooler breezes, the colored leaves falling from the trees, and the apple cider warming on the stove. I love putting on my cozy sweater and jeans and sitting by our fire pit in the backyard. There is a slowing down of energy that is in the air, even when our personal lives are still moving swiftly. If we take the time to notice it and relax into the energy, it can be a healing balm to our soul.
This slower energy calls us to be still for a moment, to take stock of how things are going and to think of the parts of our lives that are ready for change. Just as the trees are shedding their leaves, so we can acknowledge those things that need to go.
Sometimes, I find material things: the glider that I used as I nursed and held my girls when they were infants, the pants that never really fit my body right, the oddly shaped picture frames that I have been holding onto just in case I find the right photo. All of them are ready to find a new home.
Sometimes in my reflections, I realize old thought patterns, behaviors and routines that no longer serve me. These seem harder to let go of….many of them have been with me for a long time. But, the release feels good and enables newer, healthier versions to come in.
In these past two weeks, our cat Milo has been recuperating from emergency surgery to remove a foreign object from his stomach and intestines. It has been a challenging time–financially, physically, and emotionally. In the beginning of the experience, I jumped into my usual pattern of “poor me, why is this happening?”. I wanted him to survive and get well. I wanted things to be back to normal. I wanted things to be different than they actually were. The more I lived in this pattern, the more unhappy I became. I was living in a place of fear and resentment and it did not feel good.
As the experience continued, I searched for another way to move through it. Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally at all I believe, my friend suggested that I listen to Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Conversations” podcast with Eckhart Tolle. I did and it was like he was speaking to me directly. Here are some of his quotes that resonated the most with me:
- “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thoughts about it.”
- “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you have chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
- *“When you complain, you make yourself the victim. Leave the situation, change the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”
Thank you Mr. Tolle. I get it. THIS is the situation. I will not leave it and I can not change it so the only option left, in order to avoid my blossoming madness, is to accept it. Accept it when I visit post-surgery and he is on the fence between life and death. Accept it when he later spikes a fever and doesn’t want to eat. Accept it even when Milo, a week into the healing process, disassembles his cone, eats the gauze roll holding it in place and causes a second trip to the ER.
Accepting it doesn’t mean I am wanting it to happen or that it makes me feel good to experience it. It doesn’t mean I am helpless in my response. Accepting it means that I am acknowledging that it is happening and that I am not a victim. I have the power to choose my response.
With this enlightened view, the old thought of “Why is this happening to me?” is turned into “Okay, this is happening now. What is my next step?.”
I must admit a minute or two of “You have to be f’ing kidding me” when I realized that we were heading back to the ER, but I quickly remembered Mr. Tolle’s words and decided to bring a book to better pass the time during the wait. I am not claiming this to be an easy practice to embody, but I do know that when I do, I feel so much better. A bit of the darkness lifts and I feel lighter.
Milo, thank you for giving me the opportunity to release even more of that old “poor me” victim thought pattern. Thank you also for reminding me of the cycle of healing. It is innate in each of us. I’ll even take the reminder to let go of eating things that are not healthy for me. 🙂
As the season of Autumn moves on, may we all continue to shed those old ways of being and thinking in order to make space for newer and more enlightened ones. May we express gratitude for the release and breathe deeper with each exhale.