Autumn Equinox, our invitation to pause


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We've arrived at the Autumn Equinox, the point of balance when days and nights are just about equal in length for a little while before the darkness gains. We are invited to pause and reflect so we can move into the transitional season of Autumn and prepare for a restorative and rejuvenating Winter.

We now leave Summer behind and step into Autumn. There is a nip in the air and we have had a few dewy and misty mornings. Fungi are sprouting up here and there. The colchicum autumnalis in the meadow are up and counted up for the botanical county recorder. Peter has been chopping logs to replenish our wood stores whilst I have been harvesting and processing tomatoes, courgettes, plums and apples lately. It feels so good to squirrel away homegrown food and to know we will keep warm this Winter! In the wild, hedgerows are plentiful with haws, hips and berries. Just this morning, I was watching blackbirds feast on crabapples. I made my Autumn wreath for the front door this week with hop vines, faded hydrangea heads and some echinops. A lovely, fun ritual to welcome in the new season and a pause from the busy-ness of harvest time.

The Autumn Equinox reminds us that it is important to find our own centre, our own point of balance so we can take stock and reflect on a personal level with clarity, gratitude and compassion. It is also especially helpful when we navigate global uncertainties, changes and challenges such as the ones we are going through right now: in the UK, a new government, the loss of a long-reigning monarch, the energy crisis and the climate emergency loom large over us and their impact on our personal wellbeing should not be underestimated.

I find that connecting with my breath is a reliable, easily accessible way to my centre, a place of inner calm and aliveness, a threshold of neutral awareness between my thoughts and feelings, between the inner and the outer. Taking just three or four smooth and rhythmic breaths is usually enough to make my mind slow down and enables me to ground and get closer to my centre. Another method to get there is to connect to our feet on the ground, noticing the quality of contact they make with the floor or ground they are standing on. This takes us out of our heads and into our bodies to bring ourselves into balance, in mindfulness rather than mindlessness. Doing this outdoors can be a very rich experience at any time of year as nature greatly enhances our capacity to find our centre; doing it on the Equinoxes can be a deeply rooting ritual that can help us transition through the seasons and ultimately journey through our own lives.

May this Autumn Equinox bring balance to your inner and outer lives and teach you to find your own place of equilibrium as and when you need it.