First day of autumn. And with it - rain. All through the night. Such a welcomed sight, sound, smell. In between the gusts of wind and shaking leaves, a collective sigh can be heard. A kind of 'ahhhh' as the water soaks into the trees, flowers and earth.
The temperature has also dropped. Being a born and bred New Englander, I don't go much by the southern hemisphere's idea of seasonal change dates. Here, the new seasons are heralded in on the 1st 's- 1 June; 1 September; 1 December; and 1 March - autumn. In my bones I know the seasons change on equinox and solstice dates. So when people here say things like, 'This isn't much of a day for the first day of summer!' I hold my tongue and think, 'Give it three weeks.'
Old timers in the parts where I grew up used to say that if you look at the weather on the equinox, you will get an idea of prevailing weather for the next six months. I have got to say, the times I took note of this, it proved eerily accurate. What no one wanted to see on March 21 or September 21 was the weather blowing a strong nor'easterly gale. The old timers also used to say that winter wouldn't come until the ponds were full. In other words, if there wasn't sufficient autumn rain, then the winter would be mild. Another observation which proved its truth many times.
These bits of Yankee wisdom were told to me by old timers who lived their lives on a small island, 14 miles to sea. There is a reason why talking about weather is a commonality - it is something we all live with every day. And when you live in a small community, buffeted by weather, wind and tides, you develop keen observational skills. The weather determines your livelihood. We come from agrarian societies - the weather meant feast or famine. Being able to read the weather patterns, and intuit what they meant, could be the difference between life and death.
We live now in a society where other people tell us what the weather is. Sometimes, listening to their forecasts, you have to wonder if they have windows to the outside or if they have ventured out of doors. They rely on computer mapping to tell them what's coming, instead of their senses, memory and intuition.
Sound familiar? Sometimes we can get so far from our own selves that we believe what others tell us instead of what we intuitively see, feel and know to be true - in our bones.
The old timers didn't have the technology we have today. Yet I would listen to their observations every time over what a weather report on TV might tell me. They listened and felt what was going on around them. They were connected to nature and to community. They took the time to listen and observe. And those skills allowed them to sense things 'in their bones'. They put trust in what their surroundings were telling them.
We have had a very hot and dry summer and throughout it all my husband has been saying, at least once a week, 'I think we could be in for a cold winter.' To which I think, 'Yeah. Not going to happen unless we get rain.' So, as I sit here on the first day of autumn (southern hemisphere time) and the weather is cool, blowing a gale and raining, I think it could very well be a cold winter. And I am thankful for my husband's persistence in getting us set up - there is already wood in the shed and a new, hopefully warmer and more efficient, wood stove waiting for installation.
I will be noticing the weather again on the equinox but for now, I am listening to my intuition which is saying, 'My husband might just be right...'.
Bright blessings for this transition between seasons. Remember that all you need to know is within you, if you are able to still the mind and listen. If you are feeling out of touch with this, step outside. Immerse yourself in nature. It will help you to hear and feel what you need to know. It will ground you back into your body; back into your intuitive self. Happy autumn/spring.
I learned the word liminal recently. It was the perfect word, at the perfect time. Like most words, it can have a few definitions, but what resonated with me was its reference to the space between; a transitional time; a threshold. Between what was and what is. Or what is and what will be. The space where we are neither one thing nor another.
I think why I fell in love with this word recently is because it described, in one word no less, where I've been. And as difficult as that space was at times, it was also incredibly joyful.
Most everything in life is a process and often we are unaware of these transitional times. We move seamlessly from one thing to another. Like breathing. We inhale and we exhale, not often aware of the space between breathing in and breathing out. If we focus on that space, the experience becomes something new. Something else.
That leaving of the old to start something new. The space in between is liminal space. And that space can be all manner of things. It can be overwhelming because we are essentially in 'no man's land'. We are not our usual self. We are no longer connected to what was, nor yet present in what is to come. And that is the beauty of transition; of being on a threshold; of liminal space.
In that space, though, we can feel vulnerable, lost, anxious, depressed - it's not a space we are used to hanging out in. We go through transitions all the time, every day. Between sleep and wakefulness; between daily activities; between wakefulness and sleep. We are often not aware of them. And some of the transitions are easier than others. But what about the bigger transitions - changing jobs, partners, homes, towns? Those are all major changes. Do we give ourselves enough time to transition? To be present in liminal space? What would happen if we did?
I have recently been gifted 2 months of, essentially, liminal space. While I was in this space, I was uncomfortable. I couldn't understand what was going on. I was in incredible flow. Highly creative and happy. Yet giving my self such a hard time because I wasn't making money. It was such a fight between what I love doing versus mainstream money making employment. I feel like the space was a gift because it was a special time. And although the transition hasn't been something tangible, I feel like a completely different person; slightly askew from where I was. But totally taken with where I stand and the view around me. I feel like I have crossed a threshold.
I didn't know I was in transition - I just knew I was no longer where I was, yet not arrived at where I was going. Liminal space describes exactly where I was, the whole time. Who knew?! I am ever grateful and ready to step forward.
I'm not really sure where I am at the moment. I do feel a little lost at sea but since the ocean is my favourite place to be, this is a comfort to me. But I am also feeling the almost constant challenge to stay present and grateful. Sometimes it can be too easy to slip off the radar and live a life of isolation, just focusing on my own thing. I am grateful I have the time and space to delve deep into what interests me but I have to remember the importance of community and engagement and getting out of my space to share space with others. Like most things, it's a balancing act. I thought this card was so very appropriate for the coming week. Wherever I am - and wherever you may find yourselves - this week, allow gratitude to flow into your heart and see where that leads you. Below is the #9 card from The Ocean Oracle. If you've been feeling lost at sea, I hope there is a jetty guiding you into a safe harbour this week.
There was so much to be grateful for. She did not know where to begin. She had been lost at sea, a storm blowing her far off course. She had been gripped by fear as she tried to find her direction. She was in a sturdy vessel with all the best equipment, but she still could not find her way. Was it hours, days or weeks she was like this? It did not matter. She was so grateful that at least she had provisions and a sea worthy vessel. As the seas calmed, the fog settled heavy and thick, rendering her instrument panel useless in helping her find land. She turned inwards, putting trust in her intuition, and headed in the direction she felt was right. As she spotted the jetty which would guide her entry into the safe harbour, she remembered to give thanks to her self - she was so grateful for her whole being.
Are you feeling lost at sea? Surrender into yourself and find a place of gratitude for that which you are sure. Small things, big things - it does not matter - the energy of gratitude brings a certain grace to your being. Open your heart to receive and give thanks for the abundance in your life. The flow of gratitude towards your self and others will bring unexpected journeys and gifts.
I have continued to post a card from the Ocean Oracle deck while I've been away. Which feels appropriate since a lot of the creation of the deck occurred while I was in this space a few years ago. I am visiting this home earlier than I usually do. I've come before the summer and tourist season start in full. And although the island feels spacious and green and accommodating, I can't help but notice the busy-ness as everyone prepares for the summer onslaught. I was able to witness some of it, being here for the first official weekend of summer - Memorial Day. I could feel my own patience stretched, dealing with the extra people and cars and bikes. It requires an extra something from every body, to get through this time with love, grace and ease. It's hard, this going from quiet and calm of the winter months, to the craziness of summer and it can be easy to forget that we are all one. We all have stories and things we carry. We are not so dissimilar to each other. So when I pulled this card this morning, with thoughts to the week ahead, I felt it was very appropriate and wanted to share it here.
Give awareness to the journey a piece of driftwood has had. The piece of wood you find washed up on the shore has had a most eventful life, often not considered. This piece of wood is here before you, and you only see it in its present state and probably think it is not much; and perhaps not worthy of your attention. For a moment, though, consider the journey this wanderer has been on. He started out as a seed and grew in circumstances you will never know - was he nurtured, tended with love; or neglected, left to his own to grow up? Did he grow tall in a forest? A plantation? On the side of a road? Where did he grow? How old was he when he died? Was he felled? Cut for timber? Struck by lightening? What happened in his life to bring him here, at your feet, only a piece of his former self? How did he end up in the ocean? How long has he been at sea? Was he part of something greater, which has now broken apart? Be open to the lessons his journey provides for you.
Your path may not be what you imagined, but be thankful for all the aspects of it - good and bad. Remember the stories of your past and your path but do not be ruled by them. They have shaped you, but they are not you. No matter your journey, your true essence will always remain. Mighty oak or driftwood - they both have their place and are of the same vitality. Be grateful for your journey and without ego, know that the mighty oak and the humble driftwood are of the same beauty.
My idea of home is tricky at the best of times. I live in one place, in the southern hemisphere, while having a place in the northern hemisphere which can pull strongly on me. I was born to this place in the north, and it is my heartland. But I choose to live in Australia because I love it and it has always felt like home. It's tricky having two places which I call home because they are mutually exclusive - opposite sides of the world sees to that. And I don't imagine I will ever be able to live in one place and not be homesick, at least on occasion, for the other place.
It is to this latest bout of homesickness that I now find myself shrouded in fog. And I am feeling my way through how similar fog and homesickness can be.
I arrive in America this time in the dark. The morning after arrival, I head to the ferry, which will take us passengers to the little island I call home. We embark in fog; sail through fog; disembark in fog. I think if I didn't know this place intimately, I would find I don't like it. It's uncomfortable, this fog. Not being able to see more than a few yards in front of me requires an immense amount of trust. I really have to trust my own navigational skills and trust that there isn't harm, just out of view. And depending on where my head is mentally, this can either be liberating or inhibiting. Will I trust my safety? Or fear unseen dangers? It doesn't take much to tip it either way.
One day, then a second day, of fog and I start to question myself. It's hard to gain clarity when you can't see the path. From experience I know the path is there but do I want to fight my fears to feel safe to walk it?
And then, in a New England minute, the fog rolls away and the most divine and glorious day is unveiled. I breathe a joyous sigh of relief. I can move forward with a sense of direction. There are wide expanses before me and so many directions I can't count. Everything is possible. That night, the sky is filled with a million stars I can't see most of the year. All is well and I am so happy to be home.
The next morning, the fog is back. And while it's still wonderful to be here, it's not as wonderful. Being in fog can be very disorienting. From experience, you know where things are - certain landmarks, for example. But you can't see them. It's back to trust. Trusting yourself and your own memory and intuition to guide you.
And it's a bit like homesickness. Needing to see those people and places that you remember, but time and space have relegated to foggy recesses. You know they are there, but just out of sight and reach. For me, it's about trusting that beneath the fog there is always a glorious day. If I can trust that, I can enjoy the beauty and stillness of the foggy days.
First of March. First day of autumn. And with it...rain. I love rain and I love the introspective days that rain can bring, especially when I have time and space to enjoy them. I love being self-employed and therefore able to schedule my days with some sort of flexibility. So most days I am able to balance life and work and rainy day adventures. (Or sunny day adventures, should ever the sun decide to grace us with its presence again!)
I moved to NSW in 2001, to a job in horticulture. I was positioned in Young and I used to joke that I brought the drought with me. It was a tough 7 years in that district, especially for farmers, and I vowed that when the drought broke (after I had moved districts to Mudgee) that I would never again complain about rain. So a couple of years later, when I spent 5 months in the eastern US during a June where it rained 26 days of that month, I kept my promise and instead of complaining about the mould growing on shoes and walls and books and things, I bought a good rain coat and learned to talk with the ducks who had taken up residence in a pond which had formed next to our hut.
So what do we do with 'when it rains, it pours'? How do we bring into balance something which isn't? How do we go from drought to flood, with love grace and ease? By maintaining the inner balance we all have within us. By remembering that this too, shall pass. By remembering one extreme, while heavily in the other, and standing strong in the middle of it, if only in our imagination. By remembering we, like the land and nature, are resilient. And through chaos comes change. And through change comes growth. And through growth comes balance. Eventually and if we let it.
I love the power of story and story telling and writing is an integral part of my healing journey. More about me here.