Fall is a season integral to change; or perhaps it’s the inverse? Undoubtedly, it’s Mother Nature’s nod to the law of impermanence and the exquisite art of transformation. However poetically you perceive it, we’ve begun see change in our physical world as leaves release their clutch on the branches, the sun retreats much earlier, the wind becomes crisp and carries a clean, sweet scent. We begin to pull out sweaters, scarves, and boots, go apple picking or curiously add pumpkin to everything.
But how do we embrace, or even encourage, more profound internal change?
We have to let go of the things that no longer serve purpose in our lives, like the leaves let go of the trees. This can manifest through changes in our daily routines or habits. Spark Yoga is launching a 40-Day Detox program with the aim of providing students with precisely that: awareness around habits and our capacity to change them. This is a holistic program designed to reform mental, emotional and physical conditions. Through a commitment to physical activity at least six days per week, daily meditation, group support meetings, and abstinence of certain foods, the power of individual transformation becomes exhilarating—not scary!
Before beginning your 40-Day Detox at Spark Yoga, or just gracefully leaping into fall, here are a few tips for shifting your days from summer to fall with the intention of cultivating a deeper, calmer, more wholesome sense of self for the long term. As we come into the season of sharing, gratitude, and connection with loved ones, it becomes ever more important that we remember to show ourselves that same appreciation.
One of the many themes associated with fall is generosity. With so many holidays of great significance to various religions and ethnic or national traditions, it’s a time for reciprocity. Donate clothes, food, blankets, or even better, your time to a cause that resonates with your personal values. Local charity organizations are always in need of the most precious resource of time provided by caring people. If you like animals consider volunteering to walk dogs or if you appreciate the value in providing less fortunate populations with food, consider volunteering at a shelter or distribution center.
You can also boost your flair for sharing by randomly paying for a stranger’s tea or toll. Try making a tasty treat for friends, family, or co-workers, without the need for any particular occasion.
In whichever capacity you choose to share, strive to do so without expectation. Reciprocity is a wonderful thing, but let it happen organically. As you continue to share without care for something in return, people around you will be inspired to do the same and so the cycle carries on. Start by drawing inspiration from the following quote:
Sure the fall is a great time for celebrations and many event invitations, but we can get swept away in the stress that comes with it. We begin to cultivate anxiety in our lives as we rush to buy gifts, attend and host parties, and travel. We ultimately forget the underlying purpose of the holidays and traditions. Whether we choose to buy elaborate gifts, bake decadent treats, send simple cards, or attempt to hit every event invitation that comes along, the most important detail is the intention with which we do it. Gratitude is the highest gift we can give to each other and ourselves, it should be the wrapping of any and all gifts we give and receive.
This year, try integrating a daily meditation practice into your routine. Start with 3-5 minutes of sitting silently to reflect on all of the things in your life for which you are grateful. Nothing fancy or tricky about this meditation method. Compile a mental list and then visualize their physical manifestations in your life. When the stress begins to build up, you can easily return to your meditation and reflect on these things.
Connection is, quite honestly, the ultimate result of the latter two points. As you continue to share and recognize gratitude in all you do, your connection to yourself and others will thrive. The pulse of the universe will beat inside of you as you interact with more and more people. Say “Yes!” to invitations, bring a dish to share, and speak to at least three new people at every party. Get hooked on connection.
I recently received a handwritten card from a friend that I haven’t spoken to in months. It contained a massive pile of funky stickers that he’d been collecting. Now I can have a hey-day slapping stickers on surfaces and I’ll think of him each time I see one. It didn’t cost him much time or money, but the resonating impact is huge. Write a letter (a real one!), send a photo to an old friend, or make a phone call. Re-connect with family and friends on a deeper level. Even better, expand your tribe by reaching out to someone with whom you think you have nothing in common.