Autumn is the time of year when nature has a good old clear-out. The trees ditch all their dead leaves and any fruit that’s not been nabbed shrivels up and falls off too.
Why does this happen? Why can’t the poor trees keep their coat of leaves during the chilly winter months, when surely they need it most?
This is why – so that they can create space for next year’s growth…
This is an important thing to consider. We simply cannot grow if we don’t create the space for it. Growing is all about getting bigger. So, for us, we need to be like the trees. To grow we need to shed old labels and layers that hold us back. We need to let go of stale beliefs, negative emotions and damaging habits to make space for new, positive ones to take their place. We can’t have it all. We can’t become bigger, better people without letting go of those things which we know are no longer good for us. And that is scary. There is a strange comfort in sticking with the things we are used to, even if we don’t like them. Sometimes that seems easier than letting go and opening ourselves up to growth and change. But, the uncertainty is temporary – once we make that commitment to let go of the old, the new soon comes flooding in.
The trees know this. They drop their leaves and stand bare and shivering in the winter gales. But they know it’s going to be OK. They trust that the new growth will come, along with better weather again. We need to trust too. Growth will happen – we just need to take that first step and let our dead leaves drop…
I always knew there was a lot to be learnt from the trees… 😉
Here are some ideas, to get you thinking about what leaves you can shed this autumn:
- Keep a food diary for one week. Does the food you put into your body serve you well and give you the vitality and vigour you need to grow? Perhaps you can identify one or two negative culprits and perhaps try substituting them for something healthier for a week or so and see how you feel. For example try swapping a sugary cereal for sugar-free muesli in the morning, or have fish instead of red meat.
- Have a wardrobe clear-out. Take a look at your wardrobe – do your clothes represent who you are now, or are you holding onto past images of yourself? Can you get rid of, say, three items of clothes that no longer make you feel good – if you haven’t worn something in the last year you can be pretty sure you won’t miss it!
- Do a house audit. Do the items in your house bring you joy, or are there some white elephants in there that you keep as a sense of duty (e.g. gift from the mother-in-law) or that you’ve just stopped looking at and had forgotten were there? Consider getting rid of anything that makes you frown rather than smile!
- One day, try tracking your thoughts. Keep a paper and pen near you and frequently check-in with yourself, noting your mental dialogue and monitoring your moods, emotions and thoughts. This is tricky, but it’s a great habit to get into – the more you ‘watch’ your thoughts, the less power they have over you and the easier it becomes to change them for the better. Can you identify some common negative thought patterns, such as constant negative judgement of yourself and/or others, fear-based statements (I can’t do that/I can’t be that) or duty-based statements (I should do this/I should be that)? See if you can swap them for their direct, positive opposite thought, and see what happens…