Autumn Falls

Autumn, how I’ve missed you. Is there anything more lovely to look forward to after a brutally hot summer? The promise of cozy sweaters and cool sheets. The anticipation of sitting in front of a roaring fire (or a picture of one on your TV) with a book and a mug of hot (Irish) chocolate?

Autumn has historically been linked with the growing cycle – of ripeness, abundance, of gathering and storing food for the long, dark winter ahead. It has been a time of transformations both personal and environmental.

It is in this vein I would like to draw your attention from the blooming roses already dying on the vine, to the crisp leaves crunching under foot. It is a time to cast off what hasn’t been working for you, stride forward with what is, and become a new creature. Let’s do it together.

For me this new creature means establishing a consistent writing practice. It means paying attention to my body and what it needs, and to how I’m feeling, even when it isn’t pleasant. It also means taking a look at how I relate and interact with the world around me.

Shame and guilt have not been working for me, neither to motivate me to do better, nor to creatively discover new solutions to old problems. So, bye-bye.

Speaking of shame and guilt I have been wondering lately about the nature of redemption. (As one does while imagining sitting in front of a roaring fire or a picture of one on the TV.)

What transformation is possible without the soothing council of forgiveness? As many of you know, I have a PHD in ‘looking on the bright side.’ If you’ve hurt my feelings or betrayed my trust in some way, I’ve probably already found a way to forgive you for it. My thought has been, in general, humanity could use more second chances, some more ‘forgive and forget.’

I propose this is no longer working for me either. Although it is in my nature to forgive (who wants to be all bitter and useless?) I will no longer be forgetting.

My ability to obliterate past injuries is like my superpower. For the most part this has served me well, and I used to pride myself on being able to get along with anyone, anytime.

However, as I get older (holding steady at 34) there are times, and some relationships, where this has not served me. In fact, my good nature has caused me to be taken advantage of.

Sometimes I’ve been manipulated in small ways, someone borrowing money and not repaying, pretending to be my friend to get to someone else (usually a boy). There are times when it has cut much deeper, and I have been taken advantage of in the cruelest ways possible. And I owe it to myself, and my children, to role model a healthy way of dealing with these kinds of interactions.

The first step? Admitting I have a problem. The goal is to be honest with myself, and to be a better human and mom today, than I was yesterday. And that means not forgetting how bad that person made me feel. It means choosing my peace of mind over their feelings.

“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”– John Burrows

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