Turning Within

Purple asters and bronze-colored mums dot my garden. Crimson leaves have begun to cover the burning bush. Hosta leaves are outlined in a crispy brown. Chilly air, less sunlight, the aroma of cinnamon and the appearance of pumpkins on porches are sure signs that autumn has arrived.

Quiet settles over me. It whispers. “Listen, it says, nature is telling you this is the season for turning within.” The world is wild with activity. Yet a place inside of me knows the best actions come from peaceful contemplation.

We are created to live in rhythms of activity and quiet. Our very biological template is that roughly a third of each day we need to forgo busyness and rest. We even use the expression, “I’m turning in, “as we toddle off to bed.

We are meant to live in this way, turning out and turning in.

Nature’s seasonal dance teaches us so much about living. If only we will take note of her lessons. On the Medicine Wheel, a Native American map of cycles and seasons of life, autumn is the season of introspection and of manifestation. These two words might appear to be opposites. Yet, they fit together. By turning in and listening we become clear about what it is we want to manifest.

I use the concepts of “deepen” and “forward” to teach how these two seemingly opposite ways of being connect.

We deepen through meditation, prayer, contemplation, journaling for self-discovery, intentional silence or other soul-searching practices. These pursuits help us discover what we value. They bring meaning to our actions and help us uncover what we stand for not just what we are against.

To forward, we create a strategy, move forward by acting on what we truly value. We create achievable goals. We take steps to fulfill them. Outcomes become feedback to tell us if we need to shift our next steps. We find people to support us and to hold us accountable. We celebrate our gains.

It’s useful to look at how these two ways of being impact our daily choices. It is hard to fit our experience neatly into one column or the other It is helpful to see their contrasting focus. 

Deepen                              Forward

Dreams                               Goals     

Connect                              Achieve

Meaning                             Manifesting 

Present                               Future

Are there areas that could benefit by you slowing down, noticing details, and strengthening inner connections? Is there a person or project in your life where deepening is what’s needed? Which of your practices help with deepening: yoga, meditation, journaling? Do you need to spend more time turning within?

Are there areas that could benefit by moving ahead, acting, and accomplishing a goal? Is forwarding needed with a person or project in your life? Do you have practices that forward you, like stated intentions, accountability systems, and ways to celebrate success? Do you have support?

For me, I will continue to spend part of each morning witnessing autumn make herself evermore present. To bring about change with such beauty and grace is inspirational.