Autumn Fruits: reflections on impermanence

Welcome to Autumn Fruits

As I write the rain is pelting against the window and I’m back in a thermal top.  My thoughts turning to the feeling of change in nature.  How nature shows us the futility of trying to hold on as the earth continues to turn on its axis around the sun.

I’m reminded of this opportunity to contemplate the idea of impermanence and notice what happens in my mind and body when I try to resist change.  What’s my pattern around it?  I might do a bit of ‘harking back’ to the summer just gone and replaying the memories.  But I notice that my tendency is more future thinking.  I go into planning mode.  It’s like I can somehow think my way into the future, controlling the outcomes in my mind, to help me feel safer about change and the unknown.  I notice I have contracted around my shoulder blades.

Of course, planning is a valuable thing to do, just like gathering fuel for the winter.  But this is different from living in planning mode or unconsciously going there to ‘escape’ this moment.  I remind myself the more I grasp at life the more anxious I’m likely to become.  Instead, can I bring awareness to my pattern?  As I bring myself back to the present and savour the taste of the blackberries and elderberries of my autumnal breakfast, my shoulders soften again.

I’m a believer in cultivating the conditions for being present.  It’s like the vegetable garden, we don’t just stick seeds into impoverished soil.  Each year we prepare the beds for each crop with combinations of compost, manure and rock dust (for a dose of trace elements).  Healthy soil is the well of goodness to support strong plants which are more resilient to pests, disease and any battering by the unpredictable weather.

How do we create this resilience and thriving in ourselves?   One of the things we need is a healthy nervous system.  One that supports us through the processes of change and helps us weather the storms of life.  A healthy system means being able to activate in response to stress, then coming back to our ‘healing state’.  This is the place of physiological balance where the body can repair itself.  So much of the time our nervous system feels ‘unsafe’.  Maybe this feels so familiar that it has become our new normal?  We no longer recognise what is triggering us and don’t detect the low- level hum of ‘danger’ in our system.

When we cultivate safety through Yoga and Mindfulness, our nervous system begins to feel less resistance to just being here in the truth of this moment.   So developing awareness about what we need to create safety is such an important part of both healing and being with the discomfort of change.  After all change is the only thing we can be sure of in this impermanent world. 

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