By Kate Duncan
One of the things I love most about Autumn is Butternut Pumpkins. Over the weekend, I found an enormously heavy and perfectly shaped pumpkin at the Newcastle Farmers Market. The farmer had so many pumpkins out on his table that he was selling any of them, regardless of their whopping size, for only four dollars.
I carried it like it was a newborn baby, cradling it in my arms and admiring its smooth peachy coloured skin. Now it sits proudly beneath my kitchen window, waiting for me to whip it up into one of my most famous dishes, a roasted pumpkin soup.
I am very much a summertime girl. There’s nothing I’d rather wear all day than a pair of swimmers, and I love the feel balmy air upon my skin. I’m head over heels for tropical destinations, for all things palm trees and hammocks, and as many of you know, I’m pretty obsessive about surfing.
But how good would summer really be if we had it all year round? How good is a tub of salted caramel ice cream if its all you ever had to eat? I might be a lover of summer, but what I love more than anything in this world, is that all things change.
I’m in love with change. Out of Tony Robbins’ six core needs (you can read about Tony’s six core needs here ) I rate variety as top of my list. I need things to be different, and I crave the excitement that comes with the endings and beginnings of each stage, cycle or season.
Earlier this year, I did some research on how seasons, or cycles, affect our lives. These days, we aren’t as connected to the seasons as our ancestors used to be. We spend most of our lives indoors, forgetting that the whole earth is changing around us outside. The moon goes through seasons of her own, and all around us, plant and animal life is being born, growing old, and dying.
Man or woman, we can all benefit from understanding how to harness the power of the earth's cycles. By reflecting upon the seasons, we can feel each one’s characteristics, associations, and energy, and we can use this to bring more balance to our lives.
Autumn is the time of harvest. We can relax a little and enjoy the benefits of the hard work we have done over the spring and busy summer. We can sit back and enjoy the results of the habits we have made, and find ourselves cruising along a little more. As the physical sun decreases, so does some of our energy, and we move into a space of finishing what we started. Autumn is about chilling out, wrapping things up and getting ready to really rest when winter arrives.
Winter is a time of reflection. We turn inward and let our energy fall. We go easy on ourselves, hibernate, rest and rejuvenate. Our intuition is highest in the winter, so it is a great time to meditate, do yoga, eat warm nourishing food and sleep a little more. Take time to reflect on all the amazing things that you have done since last winter and gently prepare for how you could do things differently or better next year. We learn from our mistakes and set intentions for the future. The seeds that you plant now will bloom come spring: and the cycle begins again
Spring is all about new life. It is the time that the “seeds” we planted in winter come to life. In spring, we are more creative, we have more inspiration, and we generate new thoughts and ideas.
Our energy is increasing, but not at its peak yet, so we are still gathering momentum. This is a great time to start new projects or put new ideas into practice, or perhaps develop a new habit.
Summer is about activation and fun. It is a time of rapid growth and energising what we have planted. Our energy is at its peak, so this is a time that we may benefit from sleeping less, being more social, or running full steam ahead in our new ventures. Our businesses are at their peak, and so are many of our physical habits. We can use summers' energy to work and play harder than at any other time of year.
So, now we know about the seasons, how do we align ourselves with Autumn and Winter?
Here are my five top ways to harness the energy of the colder months:
- Chill out. Let yourself slow down a bit. Maybe have a sleep in or two. Be a real daredevil and take a couple extra days off work. Taking good care of yourself now and getting plenty of rest may just prevent the usual onslaught of colds and flu’s that can hit as winter begins.
- Don’t miss an opportunity to get outside and soak up the gentle sun’s rays. Be grateful for the warmth, and get excited about those cooler nights too. Delight in unpacking your fleece lined leggings and trying on your beanies. The ocean can be at its calmest at this time of year as winds relax a little: take example from the earth and let yourself be calm and gentle too.
- Take notice of which fruits and veggies are in season. If you don’t know, educate yourself, and eat only those foods. Going to the farmers market instead of the grocery store will help you to do this. Think apples, celery, carrots pumpkin, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage: YUM! Can you say carrot, celery and apple juice? Don’t forget to ramp up your gut health to increase immunity for the winter and make sure you’re getting your daily dose of probiotics.
- Take inventory of all of your amazing accomplishments from the busy the summer and spring. You can make a list of all them and congratulate yourself on your hard work. Contemplate how you can finish strong, wrap up loose ends and get ready to rest come winter. Avoid taking on unnecessary new projects. Relish in your achievements and remind yourself its time to relax.
- The trick to harnessing the power of the seasons is to be one step ahead, so make a plan for how you will nurture yourself this winter. A weekly massage? A new self-care routine or a daily meditation practice? A membership at a hot yoga studio (one of the BEST winter tricks ever). Or perhaps a mid winter’s trip to Hawaii? Go for it, you deserve it!
Before I knew about the energy of the seasons, I used to try to be 100% all the time. It’s possible, but it hurts. It’s so much easier to flow with the energy that the earth is offering to us. We are, after all, made of the earth.