Autumn is upon us—a time of self-reflection and release.
The season turns nature into a canvas, painting itself in hues of amber, ruby, and gold. Every year, I find myself sitting on my front porch, watching the leaves dance to the ground, captivated by their whispering encouragement to welcome change.
Trees Don’t Cling, So Why Should We?
Science offers a straightforward explanation for the transformative beauty of autumn leaves. During summer, trees are full of chlorophyll, the pigment that makes leaves green and aids in photosynthesis—the process of turning sunlight into energy. As the days of autumn shorten, the production of chlorophyll diminishes, revealing yellows, oranges, and reds. It’s a time to show our true colors—at least to ourselves. Self-reflection and introspection seem to come naturally, and if we’re courageous, it’s a time when we can take a deep dive into our souls.
Each leaf will eventually fall, guided by tiny cells that help the tree sever its ties, allowing it to conserve energy and water. It’s nature’s poignant way of saying that sometimes, letting go is a necessary step in the cycle of life. As a rule, this doesn’t happen all at once—although there is one tree in our yard that seems to drop the majority of its leaves almost overnight. Usually, each leaf is released in its own time, and there are a few that appear committed to clinging on through the winter!
Like those stubborn leaves, we all have ideas and beliefs that we habitually cling to.
Thoughts about what the world expects from us. Beliefs about what is lovable and what is not. Core perspectives that we’ve adopted as our own may now do more harm than good. Fall is the perfect time to reflect on these ideas and let go of the ones that no longer feel authentic or true.
There was a period when certain viewpoints shaped my identity and choices. They were my emotional and spiritual chlorophyll. But life has its seasons, and as I encountered new experiences, challenges, and people, I found that some of my old beliefs began to lose their relevance and usefulness. It was uncomfortable and even painful at times, but it allowed other colors—new perspectives and values—to come into view. And you know what? This newly revealed palette was breathtaking in its own right.
What Happens When We Hold On Too Tightly?
Just as leaves retained by a tree become a burden in the winter, our outdated ideas can transform into liabilities rather than assets. Clinging to them can block out new possibilities and cloud our judgment. You risk draining your spirit when you hold onto what needs to be released.
Cyclically, trees lose their leaves, endure the harsh winter, and then, come spring, they sprout anew. In the same way, our lives are marked by seasons of growth, change, and renewal. The ideas and beliefs we let go of make room for new ways of being and for a fresh bloom of identity and purpose.
The Tree in My Yard
As I pen down these words, the tree that provides shade for my family all summer has begun to slowly release its leaves. Only a few have fallen, but it’s enough to make the arrival of the season of release undeniable. It’s a vulnerable process but foundational to the resilience necessary for this beautiful being to survive the winter. I feel a kinship with this tree because I know that my own season of letting go is as natural and necessary as its fallen leaves.
As summer gives way to fall and life reveals its true colors, how will you capture the beauty of your authentic heart, and what will you release to make way for rest and renewal? We are not here to parasitize the earth but are instead meant to be an integrated aspect of all life. When we walk in harmony with the seasons of life, we find peace, growth, and contentment. Now is the time for reflection and release. Now is the time.