Fall is a great time to take a look at tossing out and letting go. Think of it as a jump on spring cleaning; a preparation for transformation. I’m not just talking about getting rid of stuff you haven’t worn or used in the last couple years; I’m also referring to relationships, attachments, expectations and fears.
Every fall I’m reminded of the story of the leaf that didn’t want to let go. This leaf sprouted in the spring and had a grand ol’ time all summer. It frolicked in the wind, enjoyed the sounds of children playing around the tree and bathed in sunshine day after day. At the first signs of fall the leaf began to experience tremendous fear. Just thinking about having to fall off the tree, turn brown and be replaced by a young, new shiny leaf, brought it terror. Deeper into fall and the leaf refused to fall. It hung on tight to the branch and refused to let go no matter what. In the end, instead of enjoying the brisk cool air of autumn and the joyous ride into winter, instead of falling gracefully from the branch down to the earth, the leaf was still there come spring. Frozen, dried up and miserable, the leaf finally came down with a big kick off the branch by new and happy spring leaves.
The reality is we all do that. We refuse to go with the flow, we hold on tight to the things that give us comfort and we stay stuck trying to keep things as they were. Everything comes and goes so all we can do is enjoy each fleeting moment as best as we can. Otherwise, we miss life altogether. Below are a few tips to move with the seasons and prep yourself for a transformation come spring.
Clean out your closet.
If you didn’t wear it last year, you will probably never wear it again. Most of us rotate our wardrobe but it’s very likely that at least 50 percent of your clothes are merely taking up space and going unused. It feels good to get rid of things. Less is more and when we get rid of the old, we make room for the new.
Try a new hairstyle or hair color.
Attachments to hair blow my mind. It’s just hair! Try something new and let go of the thought that “you” are defined by your hair. If you do decide to venture out and you don’t like it, remind yourself that it’s not the end of the world. It grows back and the people in your life will still love you. Changing your hair can be liberating, refreshing and exciting.
Examine your fears.
Take a tally of the things you are afraid of and start tackling them one at a time. If you’re afraid of speaking to a crowd, start small and create situations where you are forced to talk to people in a public domain. If you avoid headstands because you’re afraid you’ll break your neck, talk to your teacher about options for modifying and easing into it. Avoidance doesn’t make your fear go away. It amplifies it. So get into the habit of exploring your fears so you can diffuse them. One of my teachers used to say, “if fear is anticipation of a future event, presence of mind dissolves fear.”
Make better food choices.
Being fit and feeling good begin with what you are putting into your body. Instead of waiting until a few weeks from summer to crash diet your body into beach mode, start now. The holidays are coming up and if you’re not prepared you will end up feeling heavy and bloated towards the end of the year. As the weather changes, look for nourishing foods that give you enough fuel to tackle your day. Sweet potatoes, squash, stews, soups and curries are great for heating up the body and filling it with essential nutrients. Sugar, processed foods, salt and stimulants like coffee, caffeine and alcohol are not good for your insides or your outsides. Educate yourself on the effects of these empty energy sources and opt for vegetables, fruits, probiotics, and lean organic protein. Everything that goes into your body affects your brain, attitude and productivity. Choose well!