When I got back from being away on vacation, quite unexpectedly and with no plan ahead of time, I found myself compelled to clear everything out before I put anything away. That first afternoon back, I spent 5 hours clearing and cleaning out shelves and closets. It went by in an instant.
That urge has continued on into this week; with any spare moment being given over to organizing, consolidating, using up and passing on. I imagine this will go on for at least another week as I feel a deep inner urge that goes beyond just “getting rid of stuff.”
I know we typically associate the Spring with the season that we do our big yearly cleaning. And it’s true. After a winter, there is this welling up to clear out and air out. A kind of sweeping out the cobwebs and all of the cold and stagnant places. A necessary and practical ritual to let go of winter’s ways in order to open up to new growth.
But for me, the Fall is the season that has the greater impact in my life. Maybe it’s because as someone who went to grad school and then on to teach around an academic calendar, this time of year always feels like my New Year. My time to get clear and cleared out to get ready for what is to come.
But as the years go on, it feels much more primal and embodied than that. It feels like a necessary prerequisite for my very continued existence; both physical and spiritual. A way for me to honor what has come before, and to pare down to make way for The Great Unknown.
If you think about it, for most of our cellular memory as human beings, we had to align with the seasons. So even though we would be in the height now of the gathering time, historically it was also a time when you had better get really clear about what your stores were, and what it is that you would be carrying into the darkest and sparsest time of year.
So, while practically speaking, it may not be so true for many of us in terms of physical survival, on some level, it is. For you cannot survive or thrive when you are bogged down and filled to the brim with excess and extraneous baggage.
What would it be like for you to use this time of the year to deepen into what truly nourishes you, while eliminating what does not? This is about holding the fullness of the harvest with the knowledge that winter is coming. That means we need to make some clear and sometimes difficult decisions about what to keep and what to let go of for the sake of a more robust surviving and thriving.
For the Truth is, The Great Unknown does not suffer extravagance or thoughtlessness.
So, if you’re up for it, take time this Fall to reflect on what matters most to you. Then look at your surroundings and begin to evaluate whether what you have in your life has value to you. Or not. More pointedly, did it ever really have value to you? Even further, will it have any value to you in the future, or will it serve as a burden to your existence?