September has snuck up on me once again, and soon it is time for the Autumn Equinox! The theme I see in all my pagan, witch, witch-adjacent, mystical emails and posts is of balance. Which got me thinking: does ANYONE feel balanced this time of year?
I get it, I truly do. All the scientific yada yada, equal day and night, as above, so below kind of thoughts. This time of year, though? I am wrecked. The calendar seems to speed up, while the fact that there are only a few months left in the year is staring me in the face. So much to do, so little time. Speaking of time, where is it? This is the month of clearing up, clearing out, getting rid of clutter, preparing for third harvest, rituals, community, spiritual practice, projects…the list goes on. And here I sit, fretting.
Sooooo, this what whirls around in my head. A jumble of things “to do”, “not yet done”, and “overwhelm”. I gaze in wonder at my friends, who happily embrace the change in weather, the coming holidays, the weeks leading up to Samhain, and I mutter into my cozy beverage, “HOW?” I don’t get it.
Thankfully, I have years of therapy, lots of meditation, and a spiritual practice that saves me when this happens. I do feel the overwhelm, the lack of balance, the chaos in my head, and the wistfulness over summer disappearing. I don’t feel balanced at all, which I always find ironic.
Yet, when I pause and re-calibrate, I drop down into the wonder of the turning of the Wheel of the Year. I love that sensation of being part of the land, watching the trees change color and the native wildlife adjusting to the weather. I stumble, mutter, and feel crazed for a few days (or even weeks), and then I go back to what I know best. The list below is usually part of my mental checklist when I get this yearly overwhelm, so I hope it helps you as well, as you navigate this magical time. Is it okay to feel a bit unbalanced? Absolutely. My focus instead is on centering, and non-perfection, going with the flow. And from there, anything is possible.
Deep breathing: It always starts with this. I panic breathe on a regular basis, so I purposely slow my breathing down, and it helps with the chaotic feelings.
Tweak my diet: More grounding foods, a bit less caffeine and alcohol, way more water. When my insides are calmer, it helps with my mental chaos. I also start to bake and cook much more than I do over the summer, because, action helps me focus and re-calibrate.
Action: I cook and bake, break down overwhelming tasks, and gingerly tackle my to-do lists. Instead of de-cluttering the entire home, I start with one drawer or room. I set up a little schedule, so I do a few simple things each day. It eases me back into the flow of life. Action helps me feel better, so I know that once I start, it feels a bit easier.
Light those candles: It’s getting darker earlier, so out come the candles, to help with the feeling that the day is completely over. It also does double duty, as I get some scented fall candles, so home not only looks cozy, it smells cozier, too. I use candles in my spiritual practice, so I begin and end my day with gazing into the flame. It is calming and centering.
Nature: The usual concept here, get outside! I hibernate easily, so it takes a bit more effort to get out there, but I do make that effort. I go out and hug a tree if all else fails. It helps to center and ground me. I also try to schedule a visit to an apple orchard, because it’s a fun activity, gets me outdoors, and then I make yummy things with all those apples.
Spiritual practice: I neglect it sometimes. This time of year is one of those times. So my plan is to clean all my altars off, and start fresh for the season. Fresh flowers, offerings, candles. I will light some incense and hit the reset button in the space, make it inviting and cozy again, instead of neglected and messy. Along with that, I hope to get rid of clutter, and really embrace the coming equinox.
Community: The last thing I want to do is to talk to anyone when I feel all disgruntled, and overwhelmed. Yet this week, I have been engaged in some deep, soul-stirring conversations with friends, many of whom feel the same, and it has helped tremendously. It’s nice to know I’m not alone, and the support is a boost. Reach out to people who love and know you, it is always a gift. Especially in this crazy world. Most of all, don’t make assumptions of what they are thinking, and genuinely ask for help. It’s my least favorite thing to do, but my friends have been there for me when I’ve needed it most. Very grateful.
I may not approach the Autumn Equinox feeling all balanced and centered like many of you, but when I go through the list above, it does help me feel a bit more in tune, grounded and focused. May our Autumn be filled with magic and wonder! May we truly embrace the season and the coming days with zest, lots of patience with ourselves, and understanding. It is my hope for all of us. So mote it be!