by Christine Sine
Part of the fun of autumn for me is getting fruit and vegetables that will see us through the winter ready to store. I hold apple processing parties and make apple pies, pesto and chocolate zucchini bread that go in the freezer for winter hospitality. I dry apples and tomatoes and sometimes figs. I harvest the dried beans and winter squash and store them away to help provide for our winter diet. What we need is food that will last through the long winter months without spoiling.
What spiritual fruit can we harvest now as a result of our spring planting and summer growth that will see us though the slow and sometimes painful days of winter? What comes to mind for me are:
- Gratitude – for both what has passed and for what is present now in the midst of the shortening days.
- Awe and wonder – appreciating the beauty and wonder of the present season not hankering after what has gone.
- Retreat and slowing down (yes I know I keep harping on this but I need constant reminders and I suspect many of us do.)
Remember the Past With Thanksgiving.
What are you grateful for in the season that has passed? One American feast I have embraced with enthusiasm is Thanksgiving. In fact I have made the week of American Thanksgiving my gratitude week. Each morning I love to look back over the year and remind myself of all I have to be grateful for. I am storing up gratitude in my heart and mind to nourish me over the winter.
My favorite scripture to read at this season is Psalm 107 with its repeated refrain: Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Such good words for us to ponder as we enter a season of change. Then I make a list, if I am on top of my game I write thank you notes and I embellish my journal with decorative thanksgiving patterns. It boosts my spirits and helps me relax into the changes that are coming.
Get Ready To Embrace the New
What are you looking forward to in the new season that is coming? What gives you a sense of awe? I have mentioned before that Tom and I call our daily walks “awe and wonder walks”. We look for what gives us a sense of awe now – the changing colors of autumn and winter, the scenes visible through the bare trees that I cannot see in summer, the changing light that brings breathtaking reflections to the lake. We talk about these and keep our eyes open for them. It brings a certain exhilaration to the season that nourishes our souls and our spirits.
Identifying the benefits we are already aware of in the season that lies ahead is one great way to prepare our hearts and minds for the future. Concentrating on the good that could lie ahead rather than bemoaning what is passing is one good way to keep ourselves in tiptop spiritual condition. Once again it is good to make a list. What are your hopes and expectations for this coming season? What are your goals for spirit, soul and body? What new disciplines will encourage you to embrace the new?
Strengthen Your Stability Zones
It is also good to think about what will not change. What are the stability points in your life that will provide a secure and immovable foundation for what lies ahead? Are there people that support and encourage you? Are there practices that give you a sense of security or that bring light in the midst of the darkness? I find that when I walk each day no matter what the weather is like, the darkness does not bother me as it once did. I have learned to appreciate the cold and enjoy the rain. And I love my nice warm coat and sheepskin boots that make it possible. Are there objects you love or practices you enjoy that anchor you during a season of change? Identifying and strengthen these – store them in your heart and in your soul so that they will nourish you at the right time.