I never was happy with summer’s end and the onset of Labor Day. Don’t get me wrong—I’m a big fan of the Labor Movement, the people who brought us the weekend. I love my weekends. But Labor Day marked the end of so much—of summer, of expansion, of shorts and bikes and swimming and outdoor ease and flowers and birds and grass. Summer’s spreading out into lengthening light and longer days, into picnics and porches was doomed. As a kid, Labor Day meant school was a breath away, and winter’s gloom and doom was immediate.
But it isn’t. We’ve been given autumn, a time of potentially mindful transition, to utilize and to allow our bodies and our intentions to gradually shift, like the turning of the earth and the shifting of the seasons.
So I’ve been practicing seeing Labor Day as a marker of positivity, an opportunity to let go of summer’s more frivolous, external focus, as I begin preparing for the internal focus of the inevitable winter. Perhaps Labor Day can herald the start of this season of transition, an autumn dedicated to mindful change, as I practice letting go of what was and prepare for what might be—a winter of more skillful presence?
Labor Day opens the door into so much change, and our bodies change, too, as do our nutritional needs, as Ayurveda remind us. The lighter salads and fruits, the foods of summer, no longer satisfy us, as the animal bodies we live in instinctively adjust and shift gears as the animal bodies we live in instinctively adjust and shift gears, leaning toward warmer foods like cooked veggies, stews, and soups. How can we support these adjustments? How can we relax into the cooling down, as the world both around us and inside of us so radically shifts?
I intend to use Labor Day as the start of this inquiry. What different foods does my body really need? How can my focus both expand and soften, just like the vistas around me as they open up without the hindrance of leaves? How can I reestablish balance with food? With exercise? With stress reduction?
The key to all these questions is mindful intention. To stop, to pause, and to consider, opens the door to conscious choices. Proactive consideration rather than habitual reactivity helps to reestablish positive, balanced, and healthy behaviors. However you can weave the power of pause into your life, the beginning of autumn is a powerful moment for that self-intervention.
Journaling is a powerful tool for me; some wacky integration happens, some moving through of feelings, when I put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. I intend to write a farewell to summer! In this missive, I plan to offer my gratitude for the grace of the light, my appreciation for all I was given, and offer my prayers for letting go. And I choose to write my intentions for the winter. From the depths of my heart, how do I choose to be in winter?
I choose to honor what was this summer, to relax into autumn as a time of reflection, so I can envision the kind of winter I want to have. That’s my plan. What’s yours?