The colors are waning now. The sun is riding low through the sky and the plants are changing into clothes of beige and amber.
I have been reflecting on how we experience this turning of the wheel, this changing of the seasons over and over again but somehow never quite remember the potency of each phase. The breakdown in the land is more all-encompassing than I remember. The geese finding their perfect flying formation more miraculous than I recall. The crispness of the early morning air more invigorating than my imagination can conjure on its own. What a joy it is to live out the revelatory freshness of each new day.
The life force of the land is returning to the underworld and becoming an expression of all things yin: cool, reflective, slow moving, inwards. This is letting go time. The trees release their leaves in one long exhale and the sunflowers in the garden crumple over, their bodies slumped and darkened. Form disintegrates, decay dominates and bits of nutrient treasure head back to the soil, waiting to later feed explosive life.
We are actively participating in the cycle of change inherent to all living things. When we accept and orient ourselves towards the naturalness of these rhythms, we move with the flow of our aliveness.
The Five Element cycle of transformation is metaphorical but also practical, ordinary even:
Gestation (the deep rest and regeneration of Water/winter)
Growth (the initiating impulse of Wood/spring)
Blossoming (the maturation of Fire/summer)
Fruition (the ripening of Earth/late summer)
Decline (the letting go of Metal/autumn)
We are currently smack dab in the letting go right now. It strikes me that in many ways letting go, both physically and mentally, is one of the most important ways we keep ourselves healthy. This letting go is behind the movement of our lymphatic, digestive, and respiratory systems; it is how we shed, how we release, how we cleanse. This letting go is at the basis of our mental-emotional health when we metabolize trauma, process emotion, and accept forgiveness.
What does this letting go, this Decline, bring up for you?
Are there any ways that you resist the turning of this wheel, this cycle of change?
I am finding that the Decline of the seasonal cycle is feeling particularly intense right now as we are also feeling a Decline on a grander scale, within our polarized social and political structures.
Change is the language we are speaking, it is the air we are breathing, it is the bed we are sleeping in. It is constant and all around us. Perhaps instead of thinking we control or force change, we can let ourselves be channels for the flow of change.
Let us focus on what we are finding in this change, instead of what we are losing.
Let us notice what is opening up in this change, when so much feels like it is closing down.
Let us withdraw our energy from external sources that lead to spirit starvation, instead freeing up our energy for what leaves us energized and present.
In this way we stay free and still live in a world that is not yet free.