This fall has been a time of big changes for me. The Kiddo started at the local university and suddenly I find my nest is empty. I wish I could say it has been a smooth transition, but as a single parent it has not. For 20 years it has been just me and the Kiddo. We had a lot of time and freedom over the years, because I homeschooled and worked part time when the Kiddo was young.
Now there are days when we pass each other at breakfast and that is the extent of our day together. Life used to dance to the rhythm of Our schedule...not anymore.
As parents we know that this day is on the horizon. Glibly saying " oh they grow up so fast" we actually pass through our middle years changing little, while they evolve on a daily basis. The child that my Kiddo was is only a memory.
Grateful and proud of the adult Kiddo has become, it still it feels as if I have lost a part of me: my identity, my life work, my amigo. I am left with an emptiness, not really knowing how to fill the gap. This is a time of opportunity for me, a time to rediscover all the things I've put on hold, but is that really me? I'm not sure anymore.
Still, as I take baby steps into this new expression of my life, I have realized that some things have not changed. The actions I take may not be the same as they were in the diaper days or even the teen years, but I am still there nurturing the garden that I planted so many years ago.
I will always be a Mom, however that looks. I will always love my Kiddo. That said...
Mandala is the Sanskrit word for circle. These concentric geometric reflections of the cosmos, wholeness and the self are meditation aids that have been used in various spiritual paths for thousands of years. A labyrinth is a mandala you can walk in.
Unlike mazes, which have confusing passages and blind alleys, a labyrinth is unicursal, meaning one path in and out again. This is the symbolism of the "journey". Not complete at the zenith of destination, all journeys have a beginning, mid-point and ending. A metaphor for life and it's many phases, this simple form of meditation only requires a bit of movement and light concentration.
There have been times in my life when focusing was easy, but sometimes sitting quietly in contemplation just won't do. Darkness can weigh me down, making a pinprick of the light of my spirit. I want to escape the pain which makes me antsy. Walking a labyrinth allows me to reconnect with my inner light, while giving my body something to do. It may only offer a short respite or it could open up new possibilities.
To sit or stand unmoving is to go backwards because time always moves forward. Meditation brings us to the present moment and sometimes we just need to round the curve in the road to find a new perspective.
Where we are in the journey of the labyrinth isn't the point. Since it is always One path, I can go with ease..I am always right where I need to be.
The weather got significantly colder this week here in the desert. It seems like only a week ago, it was 90+ degrees and the sun came up at 5:30 each morning. Today the sun peeked into the kitchen around 7 and I can tell "winter is coming". Leaves are starting to fall from the trees.
Staying in touch with the changing seasons is a good practice for living in the moment. It is easy to minimize the changes...we have lights and heaters in the winter and air conditioning during the dog days of summer. Still, our diurnal, day/night, cycle is an important factor in our well being and the season cycle is similar, on a macro scale.
One of the easiest ways to acknowledge the changing seasons is to mark the solstices and equinoxes. You probably already do this unconsciously by changing the type and amount of clothing you wear. These solar events occur once every 3 months and mark the first day of each season. ( I actually think they are mid season events..but that is a muse for another time).
Easy ways to ground yourself in the current season include: seasonal flower arrangements, a flag for your porch, art or craft displays, garlands, accenting the color of your home decor or dinnerware, resetting the home screen on your computer or phone, preparing seasonal food, making time to enjoy nature in your yard or local park, or just wishing others a happy solstice or equinox. I generalize my cues, leaving holiday stuff for holidays, but you should do whatever feels right to you.
Consciously embracing the change of the seasons may not seem all that important, but noticing them reminds us that everything changes. Some changes are cyclic, some are once in a life time, some are life changing, some very subtle, some positive, some not so much. Resisting or denying change is a major cause of stress and unhappiness.
When we accept change as part of our daily and annual lives, we can appreciate good times and weather the rest with grace. We are able to be more balanced and positive, coping with whatever comes our way.
The Autumn Equinox has just passed, here in the US. Next up: the Winter Solstice on December 21st in the northern hemisphere or Summer Solstice in the south. Here in my kitchen it is obvious... Brrr, autumn is here and winter is coming. Time to make pumpkin muffins.
May you be warm, stay in the moment and embrace change!
Tags: Grounding, mindfulness, living in the moment, seasons changing