I am in love with Autumn more so this year than any other. Challenging though it is becoming in many ways I know only good can come of this. The season which itself symbolises change, creates space and inspiration for change within us all, if we only hear and answer the call.
This year I answer. If I did not live in the middle of the city I would step outside my back door and shout it out loud, but my heart and soul shout it to the cosmos anyway.
Thick wet mist covers the common, cows move through it mysteriously, hips and berries are washed of the dust of dryer days shinning like rubies and Californian poppies in my garden still somehow manage to unfurl tight buds of fiery orange with it's moisture.
Gathering, simmering and bottling - berries oozing with promise of winter health. The first sloes have come easily from their branches already, ahead of their traditional time but I had to stop and remind myself that everything flowered and fruited early this year as summers start sooner than once before. Not wanting to miss the opportunity of the liqueur dream that is Sloe Gin I thought to hell with tradition and listened to my diurnal core and instinct instead. Happily my first batch is brewing and having started early there's promise of plenty more to come!
Mindfulness, I have decided, is going to be the key to my self improvement; to the re-membering of the woman I was meant to be and most importantly to maintaining her once she is found again. The journey will be ongoing.
And as life has a habit of doing, my love of the season - of rose hips in particular and the sanctuary that is our local Buddhist centre wove themselves together last week as the shrines were decorated with boughs of those bright red rubinous jewels.
I never expected this journey of self improvement to be easy. Some days it feels like it is, maintaining the positive approach to life rumbles along nicely lulling me into a false sense of security. But the old adage of one step forwards two steps back is just as often true. I am taking on a lot with all the changes that are falling into place, but necessary and unavoidable it is, fail I will not.
The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course I am participating in practically thrusts one hour of meditation and mindfulness practice on you a day; sounds like a lot but quite honestly having this enforced is the biggest blessing I could have asked for. Long have I yearned to meditate this regularly and for this long but it is too easy to let oneself off in favour of cleaning the kitchen or slouching in front of a film and calling it necessary or relaxation. Now I can immerse myself in a philosophy I have long identified with, perhaps if I had done this at the outset, twelve years ago I would not be in the troubled place I'm in now.
My doctor has encouraged me to be totally open with my children and she assures me that although they have witnessed me screaming like a banshee and felt my temper far too often, showing them courage and the strength to make such vast changes is truly the most valuable thing I can offer them now. I spare them details but share those basic facts regularly. They are forgiving beyond all measure, when I flip then as quickly apologize and try to reconnect they let me. Humbling.
Early nights, I mean 8.30p.m early nights are helping. A 5.30a.m rise does not matter when I've already slept 9 hours, though I am frequently blighted by insomnia and nightmares.
Bathing with my girl mid afternoon skin to skin and her morning ritual of skin cuddles are opportunities to reconnect to those parts of me I grew and birthed, now the centre of my universe.
Mindfulness is a hard one to crack on a daily basis when I'm used to the incessant slightly psychotic commentary and chatter that goes on up there. I realised how sick my body has become with stress, the physical symptoms I didn't even consider as connected before. I read today that mindfulness is not removing oneself from ones problems but instead getting much closer to them. I feel this. In making the right moves to overcome the obstacles I have created I am coming closer to them and honestly it is slightly terrifying. It is like getting closer to myself - okay it is not the me I envisaged being but non the less this is part of who I am right now, I must accept this to move forwards. My heart goes out to anyone else who has ever suffered from stress, anxiety, depression or variations thereof.; the general miss-perception is that we're flaky and a bit pathetic, but it's a lot deeper and more confused than this, I am only glad I am addressing this now, before I'm thirty rather than in 20 years time by which time I would have many more regrets. And for this reason I have decided to share my journey here. I don't want to over shadow the positive things I do do with my bairns but in my original mission statement I said I'd record my journey through motherhood and this has become part of it, it could be the most important thing I do for us. If I can help anyone else reading this who is perhaps in a similar position or is currently in denial as I have been for many years then I'll have loved it forwards. I am going to add a new tab though so there is some separation, for myself as much as the children.
But for today let me summarise the joys this season inherently brings .... things that have warmed my Autumn Heart;
Making the Mabon Loaf
My garden that just keeps on giving
Fire of autumn in the trees
The old lady in the shop who told me I was stunning
My boys obvious delight at the sight of two unbelievable puddings made by my 87 year old grandad for Sunday lunch at the weekend (and they were! Grandad we will be making you a Desert making Rosette very soon I feel sure of it!)
Watching my Mama bake a cake with my girl
Watching my little sister (not so little at 15 anymore) take my kiddies out to the park so I could chat with mama.
The abundance of Rose hip syrup now in my cupboards
The cats being in more now the weather is colder and their fluffy fluffy fur.
Paint swatches blue tacked to walls
Smokers Delight - the Nightmares on Wax variety.
Excitement as I will be reunited with old housemates this coming weekend
My boy's recently found helpful streak ... clearing the table with me after dinner without even being asked!
My boy wearing my favourite of his tops, hippy grandad shirts, because he knows how much I love them.
Charity shopping with my girl.
An unexpected reminder of our summer holiday arriving through my front door just now - photo's from a friend
Low Autumn Sun
A Peaceful House
Tatty old tie-dye tops I refuse to throw out, probably should mend them though
Community community community! The Mama's I am meeting in the playground at school and the unexpected connections we share - friendships a-kindling.
Creating a sacred space in my bedroom for writing and mindfulness practice.
I feel this has been a self indulgent post today, but writing is healing so forgive me!
Brightest autumn blessings.