Autumn’s Final Surrender – Nature’s Guide To Letting Go

In fall’s fading months comes a different garden to tend.

A cold and dark afternoon, the sun being behind clouds in the west. The landscape is barren of objects, the trees being leafless, and so little light in the sky for variety. Such a day in which you must hold on to life by your teeth… Not a mosquito left. Not an insect to hum. Crickets gone into winters quarters. Friends long since gone there, and you left to walk on frozen ground, with your hands in your pockets. Ah, but is not this time for deep inward fires? Henry David Thoreau —Journal, November 13, 1851

No more are the bright colors of yellow, red, and orange that line our dirt road.

As the cold sets in and the nights grow long, the trees have finally surrendered. Even the deer hunker down, blending into a faded background of browns and grays.

And any remains of my once blooming garden are put to rest under a blanket of wet, rotting leaves. It’s as if all of nature has been swallowed by the earth, formless in the fog – yielding to fall’s slow decay.

“But is not this a time for deep inward fires?”

Autumn brings with it a serene energy of release. The world is letting go and a good time for us to do the same. The ground is already being laid, inviting us to slow down and quietly surrender.

There is now a different garden to tend – from which all new life will one day emerge.

Fading into Fall

Autumn is a good time to pause and reflect – what am I holding on to? What am I willing to let go of? Here’s a good place to start.

Release Fear

There is nothing more dangerous to our inner spiritual world than perfectionism. And in the yoga world especially, where it often masquerades as the noble drive for self-improvement and progress. But what’s buried inside is the fear that we are not already good enough. We wonder, Will others accept me? Would they love me as I am? 

Maybe you have had those thoughts? I know I have.

It requires courage to accept ourselves as human. So what you need instead is just a little encouragement – which literally means, to give courage. Perhaps a little self-love along with support from your tribe. It’s normal to be afraid but also brave to love yourself anyway.

Release Doing

Masters at multitasking, most of us already know how to hustle. If there’s a problem, we solve it. If there’s a gap, we fill it. And if there’s a job, we do it.

And Ashtanga yoga practitioners in particular are a willful, tenacious bunch where our practice becomes both the addiction and the cure. It’s the place we seek balance and ease – and use all this pushing and striving to get there!

Instead, we need a sitting practice. At least 10 minutes a day of quiet stillness. If you don’t know where to start, try visiting or download the app, Headspace. Both offer wonderful guided meditations.

Release Expectations

I recently began a daily practice of writing called, the morning pages – an exercise suggested by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way. Every morning, upon wakening – I write three continuous pages. It’s the old fashioned way, like pen-to-paper, which Cameron says is important. These pages are about nothing in particular. Just a simple transcription of my thoughts as they occur – a written stream of consciousness. But every morning. It’s non-negotiable.

It’s a strange way for me to write – and especially, as a writer. But Cameron says there is no wrong way to do this exercise. There is no censoring. No editing. No forming ideas, constructing outlines, or spell-checking. The process appears pointless. And it is. Which is exactly the point.

It’s all about process. The process of replacing goals and outcomes with awareness and acceptance. And it’s amazing how much more gets accomplished this way.

Morning pages, A trail into our interior

And in this process, I’ve learned a lot about myself. Thoughts I didn’t realize existed. I’ve made important discoveries, become aware of things that were troubling me – stuff I wasn’t overtly aware of. And though I made no attempt to solve or to fix, somewhere in the pages, these things worked themselves out – without me ever even trying.

Transition with Ease: A Led Class with Peg: