The foliage is absolutely spectacular this year.  Maybe it’s no more than what it’s been the past several years and I’m just giving it the attention it deserves.  This beauty belies what is coming, a time of hibernation and review.

Here in New England, woodpiles are being stacked, the remaining vestiges of gardens are being preserved, processed, and savored, and people are preparing for winter.  With a twinge of guilt and stubborn pride, people are vying for the blue ribbon for who can wait the longest before turning the heat on or having the first fire of the year in the wood stove.  Somehow it has become a badge of honor to see how long you can wait it out before succumbing to the reality of shorter days.

The fall equinox is the turning point with equal hours of dark and light.  It’s a reminder to bring balance to the lightness and darkness within ourselves.  We all have a shadow self that manifests in a variety of ways.  So many people who are on a spiritual path or work in this field tend to dismiss this shadow side as evil or wrong.  There is polarity to everything.  The yin-yang symbol accurately depicts this concept beautifully.  The line between the white and dark sides of the symbol is not rigid and fixed, it’s a wavy line indicating flow and transference. There is an interconnectedness that complements the duality of light and dark. This dichotomy of opposing properties can be applied to everything. The dot in the middle of each side is of the opposite color indicating there is rarely anything that is pure yin or pure yang. Within the happiest moments there can be a hint of sadness and equally in times of darkness there is always the gift of hope and light.  It’s all well and good to be airy fairy but it’s not realistic nor is it very balanced.

My shadow side manifests itself heroically through fear, doubt, insecurities, and procrastination. Without these catalysts, how could I experience the counteracting joy, hope, excitement, or the desire to experience life more fully? Elisabeth Kubler-Ross states this perfectly: “There are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt. It’s true that there are only two primary emotions, love and fear. But it’s more accurate to say that there is only love or fear, for we cannot feel these two emotions together, at exactly the same time. They’re opposites. If we’re in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we’re in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.”

Through seeking a sense of balance and accepting this as a time of release and self reflection, we allow the autumnal energies to support and encourage our growth and evolution. Impermanence is as inherent to our own personal existence as it is to the cyclical changes of nature. Facing our inner world of fears and self doubt provides the same nourishment as the falling leaves give the soil. There can be great beauty and reverence in death.  It’s been two years since my mother’s passing. I remember leaving the intensive care unit and the brilliance of the foliage seemed to be mocking my pain and feelings of loss. As a medium, I know in my heart there is more than the density of this existence.  We leave the darkness of a body that no longer provides sanctuary to return to Light. The beauty of this season is a precious gift and reminder to live fully and find balance. I love you Mama. Sure as hell is a beautiful day, isn’t it?