I love this time of year. I love the crisp, fall air. I love me some cozy clothes. I love the celebrations and gatherings that take place. It’s a busy time of year, and it’s beautiful with much to look forward to.
I was walking with a friend this week, and we were talking about how much we love the fall. As we walked, we noticed how vibrant some of the leaves were on the trees.
We both have endured a cancer journey (one of us more than the other, but who’s counting!), and we began talking about the idea of shedding – of letting go – and she compared it to how a beautiful leaf that began as a bud pushing its way out to form a leaf, stayed in the flow of the summer season, has now changed color, and eventually too has to let go of its branch. And how many times that same tree will endure this same cycle. New growth. Staying in the flow. And letting go.
Man I so loved that!
We talked about being grateful, even during these very difficult journeys. Had we not endured these journeys, we may not have the insight we have today. How could we? Our souls may not have grown in the ways they have. Our relationships may not have shifted into healthier ones – perfectly placed. Yet here we are. Going for a walk on a beautiful fall day, paying attention to how parallel our lives are yet again…to a tree.
What can we let go of? What stress …what brick … are we carrying in our backpack that isn’t ours to carry? Or what have we been carrying and holding onto in our own lives that maybe it’s time to let go of?
For me, it is a conscious and constant effort to let go of reliving where we were a year ago at this time when our sweet 5 year old daughter’s mind, body, and spirit were beginning to transition into ending its time here on this earth and preparing for what’s next.
It’s a constant effort for me to let go of the fear of the unknown regarding my health following the news from only a few months ago when a doctor told me I had about 1 year left here on earth until cancer will eventually take my life.
This is where we differ from a tree. Or that leaf. Our consciousness, our ego, can so easily keep us stuck. Whereas the leaf … it stays in the flow. Year after year. Season after season.
How much we can learn from nature. From being in it and from simply watching…and listening. To pause. To pay attention. To tune in.
Then another “aha moment” as we began talking about the difference of asking “why” versus asking “what’s next?” Sometimes we need to sit with the “why”. And it’s ok. It’s always ok. We’re just not meant to stay there. The “why” is often our storm. And we’re not meant to stay in a storm. We’re meant to move through it. At our own pace. When we’re ready.
I am truly grateful to be a natural optimist and am choosing to live life fully with every big life lesson that has been granted to me. I’m doing my best not to stay stuck in the fear, the worry, and the “why”. And let me tell ya, that’s no easy task. But what if I was able to catch myself every time I dipped into that place and shifted it into “Ok God, what’s next? Lead the way. And I’m going to do my darndest to stay present and trust it…to surrender. Every. Single. Time.”
What’s next. So simple. Hand over the backpack even when that means handing it to God. Then it’s up to us to trust what’s next.
Many of us will gather with friends and family for Thanksgiving this week. Some will prepare a dish to contribute toward this big meal, while others will travel many miles to gather for this one day to all be together.
Thanksgiving has come to be one of my favorite holidays. It’s a day when we tune into what we’re truly grateful for. It’s a day when a home or table is filled with love. It’s a day of tasting and chatting, watching football and maybe even playing games. It’s a day that does not require gifts. Only presence. And for our family, it’s the kick-off to the Christmas season … which I so totally love!
Yet on this one day, we are reminded to be grateful. And as we gather around the table and as we fill our homes with love and light, may we stay in gratefulness and exhale while asking the question …”What’s next?”
Happy Thanksgiving everyone 🙂