I hope you’ve all had the chance to relax and melt a little into the light and heat of the summer. I’ve really enjoyed the Wednesday evening “Meditations on the meadows” sessions some of us have shared and the latest workshops at Byron’s Pool Nature Reserve in Cambridge. Thank you to all who joined me over the past few weeks to appreciate our beautiful natural world together!
Although the summer lingers, have you noticed the difference in the quality of the evening light? Are you missing the swifts, no longer twirling and whistling overhead? Have you watched the swallows gathering restlessly on telegraph wires getting ready for their awe-inspiring southerly migration?
Change is in the air, with glimpses of autumn ahead… Fresh dew, mature colours, golden light and blustery, ever-changing equinox weather are all on their way once again.
I’m personally feeling a little like a fluttering restless swallow myself (!), immersed in my own transition from my Cambridge-based life to my upcoming new adventure and winter migration to Chile and Argentina. From September onwards, I’ll be fully dedicated to Mindfulness of Nature. I can’t wait for this opportunity – with all the challenges, joys, new people and new experiences it may bring. And of course the chance to experience the stunning South American wilderness again!
But let’s be honest, change is bittersweet. It’s exhilarating, concerning and relieving. It sparks sadness and joy. It provokes resistance towards the unknown and powerful desire to hold on to the past. It brings both exciting transformation and nostalgia for what has been and gone.
Change removes us from our ‘comfort zones’ and invites us to explore this rich, mysterious contradictory experience of aliveness; it can also bring some of our greatest opportunities for growth.
And even when we’re living with (perceived?) security and stability, isn’t life ultimately transient by nature? Isn’t life impermanent, a constant flow? And is the impermanence of life not our greatest inspiration to truly see the precious value of each unique, moment?
Mindfulness cynics may say ‘I’m not really “into” mindfulness. I don’t need it.’ But mindfulness isn’t a hobby or a therapy. It isn’t something we need or don’t need. It’s simply the awareness we can nurture to learn to live in tune with the natural flow of the world.
If life is constant change, we can only live one moment at a time, can’t we?
With awareness, each moment becomes the only opportunity we have to choose to pay attention, tune into life, receive what it has to offer and nurture what truly matters.
Consciously using the power we have to make this choice is perhaps the secret to a happy, fulfilling life.
I invite you all to join me in exploring our experiences of the upcoming seasonal shift to autumn in the natural world around us and any transitions we may be going through in our own lives.
Perhaps we can be open to meeting each moment of the transition itself with all the mysterious myriad of emotions that may arise within it? Life isn’t the other side of the transition, it is transition. THIS IS IT.
And why not take a moment to reflect on what we can learn from the natural world around us about change, to support us in embracing change in own lives?
I’ll leave you with this quote, which I refer to in Chapter 5 of The Art of Mindful Birdwatching which feels appropriate here…
“How do these geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we, humans, know when it is time to move on?
As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within, if only
we would listen to it, that tells us so certainly when to go forth into the unknown…”
From ‘The Wheel of Life’
Kubler-Ross (1926 – 2004)
PS. If you want to join me on my migration, there are still spaces for my upcoming retreats and holidays in Cyprus, Chile and Argentina! You can find out more here.