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October Is Here!

The seasons are changing and another cycle is ending. Long ago some cultures celebrated Halloween, or as they called it then, as the end of the harvest season and the start of the new year. That would make October the last month of the year. In a lot of ways October does end many yearly cycles. The last of the harvesting usually takes place in October, many plants die or go dormant, leaves fall, the weather changes and warm days come to an end.

It is a month where you can really see the darkness returning and the nights and mornings are noticeably colder. Here, in the Pacific Northwest, the rains and the fog return, and it begins to get chilly. These are all reminders that this is the time of year to slow down, to rest, and to spend more time with yourself.

Fall and winter are the seasons of rest. This is true for the earth, for the plants, for the animals, and it can be true for humans too. When humans were more connected and tied to earth’s cycles they had to rest during the fall and winter months. Now that we have so many things that work around the cycles of nature: cars, electricity, and supermarkets to name a few, we do not always take the opportunity to rest during this time of year.

Don’t get me wrong, I love most modern conveniences but sometimes it seems like these conveniences take us away from our natural rhythms. They take us away from the rhythms and cycles of earth, disconnecting us from the world we live in. They also make it so we don’t “have” to wait out the cold months but can work all year long. This may seem like a good thing, and in some ways it is as far as creating goods and services and bringing in income. However, what if the time of rest each year is important?

All plants and animals live their lives in cycles and rely on periods of rest and dormancy in order to operate at their peak, grow stronger, be healthier, and produce more. Humans are a part of the plant and animal world, yet we have moved away from these natural cycles so much that we sometimes look at them as weakness or laziness. Yet we also need periods of rest in order to perform and operate at our peak.

Fall used to be a time when the harvest was coming in, food was being preserved, fields were prepared for the winter, animals prepared for winter, and humans started to have shorter days/less hours a day that they could work. That meant more time to spend with family and friends, more time to sleep, more time to work on hobbies. Fall for a long time has been when school started again and learning would resume. It is a wonderful time for everyone to learn new things, read more books, or practice new skills.

It is also a season to spend time with yourself. As the darkness outside increases, spend some time with your own shadows. Your shadows are the parts of yourself that you keep hidden, that you don’t look at as often. However, the shadowed parts of yourself can provide so much information and insight into who you are, how you feel, and what you want in life.

Many of us live such busy lives now that we do not have a lot of time to just spend with ourselves, or we avoid time with ourselves by overscheduling, overworking, or over entertaining and distracting ourselves. We can become so disconnected from who we are and especially from those hidden parts of ourselves that it is almost like we are strangers with ourselves.

Can you imagine living with a stranger day in and day out? Making decisions with a stranger, taking a stranger with you to work or school, making plans and setting goals with a stranger? Many of us do that when we do not know who we are, when we do not spend time with ourselves, and do not take time to look into the shadowed, hidden parts of ourselves.

October is the perfect time of year to start to get in touch with ourselves. Halloween has always been the time of year to face things: face fears, find spooky things. It was also, traditionally, a time when the veil between our world and the spirit world was thought to be thinner and when the future could be more easily divined. So it is the perfect time to also face fears you have with getting to know yourself, looking into the hidden parts of your personality. It is also a wonderful time to rest and recuperate.

The two can go together well. Resting and recuperating often mean spending some quality time with yourself which is the first step towards getting to know yourself and beginning shadow work. Resting and recuperation means spending time doing things that you enjoy, things that you find relaxing and soothing, things that fill you up and help you feel replenished.

Think for a moment about what you would love to do on a chilly fall evening. It gets dark early, maybe it’s raining outside. What would you love to do? Can you imagine putting on some comfy clothes, curling up in a chair, and enjoying a cup of tea? Can you imagine sitting in front of a fire watching the light and enjoying the scent of the logs burning? Can you imagine taking a hot bubble bath with candles lit around you? These are all examples of ways to rest and recuperate. These are also wonderful ways to spend some time with yourself and get better acquainted with those hidden parts of you.

October is the perfect time to start taking time to relax. Everything else in nature is resting now or preparing to rest. The whole natural world is preparing to hibernate, go dormant, or have less activity in general. There is nothing at all wrong with joining the natural order of things and taking more time to rest and recuperate. You may find that by joining the natural cycles of rest and activity you feel more connected to the world around you, more centered, more grounded, and more relaxed.

Enjoy this time of year, the perfect time to rest, reflect on the year that has passed, get reacquainted with yourself, and prepare for the new year that will come.

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