Monday, October 23, 2006

Shifting With Nature

This was the Daily Om from late last week:
Shifting With Nature
Change Of Season

In today's world, office jobs and supermarkets have made it possible to work and provide for ourselves and our families regardless of nature's cycles. While most of us no longer depend directly on nature's seasons for our livelihood, our bodies' clocks still know deep down that a change of season means a change in us too. If we don't acknowledge this, we may feel out of sync, as though we have lost our natural rhythm. These days, autumn is more likely to bring thoughts of going back to school than harvesting, but in both cases, the chill in the air tells us it's time to move inside and prepare for the future.

We can consciously celebrate the change of season and shift our own energy by setting some time aside to make the same changes we see in nature. We can change colors like the falling leaves and wilting blooms by putting away our bright summer colors and filling our wardrobes and living areas with warm golds, reds, and browns. While plants concentrate their energy deep in their roots and seeds, we can retreat to quieter, indoor pursuits, nurturing the seeds of new endeavors, which need quiet concentration to grow. We can stoke our inner fires with our favorite coffee, tea, cider, or cocoa while savoring the rich, hot comfort foods that the season brings in an array of fall colors: potatoes, apple pies, pumpkin, squash, and corn. As animals begin growing their winter coats and preparing their dens for hibernation, we can dust off our favorite sweaters and jackets and bring blankets out of storage, creating coziness with throw rugs and heavier drapes. We can also light candles ! or fireplaces to bring a remnant of summer's fiery glow indoors.

By making a conscious celebration of the change, we usher in the new season in a way that allows us to go with the flow, not fight against it. We sync ourselves up with the rhythm of nature and the universe and let it carry us forward, nurturing us as we prepare for our future.
For most of my life -- until moving to Tucson -- the inner flow of my life was tied to the seasons. Yesterday in particular (see here and here), I was really missing that connection.

This has been true for my poetry most of all. Weather, moon cycles, and seasonal shifts all worked as objective correlatives (in reverse) to my inner life. Rather than revealing inner states through objects and symbols, as Eliot suggested, exterior conditions helped me connect with inner states that are often hard for me to access.

Living in a climate that has only one, fairly constant weather condition (aside from the brief monsoon season) is a challenge for me. But I am here for a while -- as I have recently decided -- so I need to learn to make the best of it.

I'm not sure how to do that yet, but I'll have to do it if I want to write again -- and if I want to have better connections with my inner states. Ideally, I'll learn to access inner states without needing exterior triggers, but I'm not there yet.


Mike said...

Hey Bill,

Here, I posted a link to a great article on a related topic, Nature and City: a preliminary checklist. What's neat about it is that it categorizes many things that can help to reconnect you with nature. It's written from an inner city perspective, but I think it would still help you out by giving you some specific ideas on things to track or observe or just be mindful of. Even though you have basically a single season, nature still ebbs and flows. Hope this helps!


william harryman said...

Thanks, Mike, much appreciated.