Some of the best ways to celebrate fall
When I think of fall in my hometown, Québec, an array of colors splashes into my brain just like the leaves do when they are weaned from the sun’s energy. Here in Northern California, from my own perspective, fall is not as spectacular. At that time of the year, I always have the blues, wishing I could just grab a plane ticket and fly home for a week to play in the colorful fallen leaves.
Most of the time, this dream does not become a reality and I need to find solace in what I have here and now. Here is how we can find ways to celebrate fall, wherever we are.
Observing without judgment. If we are quick about judging, then it means we have some ingrained notion about how things should be for us in order to be happy. If too attached to certain conditions or sequence of events, it becomes a mistaken notion, one of the obstacles that Patanjali talks about in his Yoga Sutras 1,30. So instead of judging which fall is best, Québec or California, I may rather name what is a fall in these two locations and just observe the differences. I can also remember the ‘’good ol’ time’’ without staying under the impression that this is the only place where my mind should go. When judgment comes in, it means they are related emotions attached to it. When you are detached, you can observe and solely naming thoughts become easy.
Enjoying the elements. One thing that I come to appreciate in California is the value of rain. When you spend more than half of the year without significant rainfall you come to see the rain with new eyes. I am not bothered with rain anymore because I can appreciate its value. So when fall comes, I know the rain is near. Now that we rely on our well for water, the rain is priceless.
In Ayurveda, Vata is air and this dosha is related to fall. In Chinese medicine this time of the year is linked to the lungs. So go outside for a hike or just in your backyard and take some deep breaths and enjoy the crispness of the air.
Let go of…Whatever is in need of leaving your life: things, thoughts, and unhealthy habits or relationships. Like the leaves falling on the ground, this is a time to remove the superficial and keep the core intact, like trees do to survive in the winter. We are getting ready to winterize and going in. Removing extra distractions makes it easier.
Enjoying nature’s bounty mindfully: Harvesting and eating local, seasonal food is healthier for us and the planet: we all know that. Fall is the best time to reap the benefit of your hard work if you garden, or to connect with your local farmers if you don’t.
If you envision food to be more than just filling your body like a car needs fuel, then it will be easy for you to see the relationship you are maintaining with nature while eating mindfully. We sometimes forget about the rituals accompanying certain food. Thanksgiving is the perfect occasion to remind ourselves about what matter most and being thankful for the abundance we have in our lives. I suggest eating warm, earthy food. Soup and stew are just what we need after spending some time outside anyway. Adding healthy oils to our diet help balancing our dosha at this time of year and may correct vata imbalance. Root vegetables abound so use them a lot! I like to braise root vegetables with olive oils and a mix of herbs and serve it on a bed of rice.
Whatever we do, living in the moment is the key, as dwelling too much on the past and thinking too hard about the future prevents us of enjoying life. This year, I am celebrating my California fall by enjoying the rain and harvesting nuts from all corners on our homestead.
What is your personal way to live and celebrate fall? Have you created your own rituals?