Autumn is in full swing here in the Pacific NW. The leaves are changing colour, the winds are whipping up and rain has finally returned. I love this changing of the seasons, and this year decided I wanted to incorporate it in a special way into my spiritual observances and those of our community. And I wanted to have some fun. Reading this article about the consequences of loss of play in our lives made me realize how important it is for all of us to incorporate fun, playful activities into our spiritual lives whenever possible. So at our last community meeting we painted leaves.
I had fun collecting a bunch of different shapes and different colours, delighted as I did so at how awesome it was to notice something I had not noticed for a long time. The different shapes and sizes, the vibrant, and sometimes fading colours of autumn, the poignant reminder that all things have a season, was life giving. Some of the leaves I immediately sealed with Mod Podge acrylic sealer, but most of them I pressed for a couple of days and then laid them out with my paint pens for everyone to inspire.
I suggested people reflect on the question In the changing seasons what am I hoping for? It was good to both acknowledge the change that is rapidly approaching as we enter the festive season and talk about our hopes and expectations. Just expressing these out loud can help make them a reality.
Leaf painting is not as popular as rock painting, but there are a lot of people out there giving it a go so I printed out some examples from Pinterest, to inspire us. I was amazed at both the creativity that emerged and the inspiration for the future that was expressed.
The nice thing about this is that you don’t need to wait for autumn. Those of you in the southern hemisphere could devise a similar exercise with emerging spring leaves. Or you might like to do a leaf rubbing in your journal while you sit quietly and reflect on your leaf. There are a huge range of possibilities, all of them fun!
One person drew a pattern of concentric circles on her leaves, expressing her desire to become more centred over the coming months. Another copied some of the colourful patterns in the photos I provided, finding relaxation and rest in the calm of the exercise. Another drew a picture of their hopes for their family on one side of a leaf and of their desires for their ministry on the other. I painted along the leaf skeletons, some with lines others with dots, feeling as I did so that my hopes and expectations for the coming season are not fully formed.
At the end we coated our leaves in Mod Podge water based sealer. It brought back the vibrancy of the colours and kept the leaves a little more flexible than the acrylic sealer did. I laid my leaves out on the dining room table in the hope that they will last until Thanksgiving, providing me with a reminder of my need to continue thinking about my hopes and expectations for this season.
What is your Response?
What are your hopes and expectations for the coming festive season? Is there a fun, creative and reflective exercise that you could plan over the next few days that would help you to think about these? Is there something you could do to help you focus on your hopes and expectations for the future?
A lovely refreshing & creative way to connect with God and seasons. I’ve not heard of this practice and find the leaves you all painted so peaceful to look at. Thank you Christine!
Thanks Jenneth. I started doing this at my autumn spirituality of gardening seminars a couple of years ago. Found people loved it both as a way to mark the changing of the seasons and as a contemplative exercise. It does not need to be confined to autumn though.