Article By Kia Sanford
As we move into Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, now is usually the time we move from extroversion to introversion, from energy expanding outward to a more contemplative way of being in the world. I like to think of this transition as a time to think about the intentions we want to set for our winter cocoon so that when we split that shell and climb out in the Spring, our new wings are fully formed for the next season of expansion. Now is a great time to think about what aspects of yourself you are ready to shed like a maple leaf. What doesn’t serve you anymore? What can you let go of so you can reach for something that pulls you forward in a positive way?
Often in my discussions with clients I find that there is a tendency to hold on with a death grip to the past, to those things that we know aren’t good for us and yet are too afraid to let go of. Sometimes those things are habits of thought (“I’m not good at ____” or “I always/never _____”), sometimes habits of the body (having coffee instead of breakfast, inactivity, addictions), and sometimes they are things we carry for others (guilt, shame, “shoulds” handed down from family and culture). Often I find that we allow our habits to govern our lives, we think it’s easier that way. The problem is that although many of these habits were developed in response to an original need (and we responded the best we could in that situation), those habits have outlived their usefulness and are now leading us down a path that causes more problems than it solves.
To externalize this idea, take a look at most political struggles, especially around environmental issues. One of the common responses to the question of “Isn’t there another way to do this, that could be more beneficial and less damaging?” is a response from the habit which says “Why should we change? We’ve ALWAYS done it this way! What worked for my father and grandfather is good enough for me!” The trouble with this response is that it isn’t a response, it’s a habitual reaction. It is identical to what I hear in sessions with clients: “I’ve always eaten this way and it’s been fine” or “I’ve never liked vegetables and plain water”. When you hear those words “always” and “never” echoing in your head, stop and ask yourself who’s talking. Is it the adult with your best interests in mind? Or, is it the old habit that doesn’t want to be told it’s been fired?
I encourage you to take some time as the leaves change and the weather cools to take stock of your habits. Are there any that no longer serve your highest good? Are there any that actually endanger your long-term health? Is there just one that you can envision changing into a beautiful red maple leaf falling from a healthy tree and becoming nourishing soil at your feet? Peel off the old and make room for the new REAL you…