Because the power to be visionary is loaded in our DNA, it’s possible to have a compelling vision for life and work any time, anywhere. But there’s no more natural visioning time than fall, when nature itself is gloriously transforming. And there’s no better activity than walking in the woods to shut down mental chatter so we can hear more clearly what our intuition, imagination and other visionary potentials are saying.
Here’s my favorite autumn inspiration ritual, inspired by the Jewish New Year:
1. Collect an apple, some dried fruit and a few nuts. Go to woods you love, preferably some with a stream.
2. As you walk, reflect about the past 12 months and what you are ready to release: excess weight, perhaps, or pettiness, or habits that keep you too busy to enjoy life.
3. Pick up a fallen leaf, preferably one with brilliant autumn colors. Imagine releasing your “old stuff” into the leaf as easily as the leaf has let go its branch. Then release the leaf into a stream and watch it float away. (If there’s no stream, bury your leaf into a pile of other fallen leaves.)
4. As you walk again, imagine everything around you has a message for you, like the multi-legged insect that once “told” my husband John that he needed to get out into the world more and wave his equivalent to the insect’s feelers in all directions.
5. Savor the apple slowly, reflecting on the many delights of your world that are meant to nurture us, not hoarded or consumed thoughtlessly. Vow to create more savoring time over the next 12 months.
6. Look at the nuts and raisins, symbols of the bounty of the world, the power of the human mind to discover things like how to preserve food, and the human habit of lovingly passing on wisdom through the ages. Reflect on the gifts you have given through your life and work, and the gifts you have been given the past 12 months.
7. Pick up a small rock. Invest it with the memory of how it feels to be here, slowed down and connected more to all that is. Make it a touchstone to remember your deepest yearnings to live more fully, and do more of what you are called to do with your one precious life.
8. As you walk back to your ordinary life, choose to see more clearly who you are and what you are called to do. See how long you can keep alive the spirit of your walk. When you forget, hold the touchstone and remember how simple it can be to reclaim your place in a wondrous universe.
John comments: all this may be too much to do at one time, especially if you get really involved in one of the steps. So do that one to your heart’s content, and save the other steps for another time.
What about you? What are your favorite ways to be more connected to yourself and the world around you? How can you adapt this ritually to better suit you?
As always, comments are welcome. Many blessings, Pat McHenry Sullivan