29 September 2015
Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. ~Mahatma Gandhi
I love fall.
Here in Northern California, the season has begun tiptoeing in, quietly slipping pomegranates and pumpkins in amongst the tomatoes and peppers at the farmers’ market and subtly shading the treetops in soft yellows and blushing pinks. I’m already anticipating the parade of fall colors. It will build and intensify, marching on through Halloween and sailing right past Thanksgiving if a hard stern storm doesn’t bellow through. Amidst the bounty and the beauty, I’m reminded of change, of impermanence. It’s a time of harvest and a season that invites reflection.
Which makes it a great time to take stock. It’s taken me a long time to realize that an important part of taking stock is finding and appreciating our successes.
It’s ridiculously easy to find ourselves lacking. To sink my teeth into my friend’s amazing buttery tender shortbread and taste my own failures in the bakery department. Or to listen to a friend’s capable, strong clarity about managing her business and feel an erosion of confidence in my own skills. Okay, I’m probably less secure than average, but I think I see this a lot. This week a stranger came up to me to give me a lovely compliment about my fitness, and then launched directly into a list of what she viewed as her physical shortcomings.
After writing about supporting our friends as they stretch into successes, this stranger got me ruminating on how important it is to be friends to ourselves in this same way.
For some reason, it can be hard to pat ourselves on the back. Did we learn that was over-reaching? Immodest? Self-centered? Did we learn everyone else was too fragile to hear us crow?
Maybe we just didn’t learn that we matter, that we’re adding our bit, and that our bit is very important.
I’ve worn out too many horses thinking it might be possible to always look good and say the wise thing if I just tried hard enough. Now, I want to add my honest bit and hear your honest bit. Now I know those authentic bits, which may feel insignificant at times or overwhelming at others, are a huge gift in life.
A gift that opens the door to so much that deeply matters.
As this season’s beauty sifts into me, I’m appreciating the glory of life and poignantly sensing the passing of time. This combination both calms me and stirs me up. I want to get out and scuff my feet through the leaves like a kid. I also want to lift my gaze to the deep blue sky for a piece of the infinite peace.
The changing season invites attention, rewards a deep breath with the scents of the earth shifting its tilt, invokes us to reflect on the harvest of our lives. It’s a good time to reflect on our year and appreciate the skills we’ve sharpened, the sensitivity we’ve gained, the goals that we’ve met. Line these things up, like colorful jars of peaches and jams, on shelves where you can admire them. Where you can take stock of your harvest and appreciate the yields of your living. These accomplishments of yours, the reserves of wisdom and experience that you’ve created, are there to enjoy and use.
I’m going to get on out into the fall and let beauty permeate me. I hope you do the same. Your pantry is full of good stores. You are an important part of this amazing world.