I wander through the forest, which has become my new home. I walk on paths that have been walked on by generations before me. The trees stand seemingly still, stretch their branches towards me, as if to shake my hand in a welcoming gesture. Gently I touch the needles of the spruce tree and lift my head towards its crown. I know these trees, I know this land: not only the trees, also the other plants, the stones, the water, the spirits that live here. And they know me. I can feel that. My daily walk is so much more than just that. It is more like a little pilgrimage. A meditation. A return to myself. And in these moments I know what I have actually always known: I am part of nature and nature is part of me. There is no border, no separation between us. I just must have forgotten in the course of my life, like so many of us. But now I remember and I know with absolute certainty: We belong to nature.
The rhythm of nature
Why did we forget that we are nature? Wouldn't we treat her differently, if we remembered that what we are destroying is actually ourselves? Wouldn't we also treat ourselves differently, if we consciously knew that we are nature?
Maybe you can feel the changes in the landscape that occur right now at the verge of late summer to fall in yourself as well. Nature has her own rhythm and we can feel it in the changing of the seasons, no matter how connected or disconnected we are from Mother Earth. In the course of a year's cycle she changes. Not only does she change her appearance, her dress, the energy that surrounds us becomes different, too. When everything awakens in spring and the days get longer, we can also feel the revival in ourselves. When summer takes over and the sun unfolds its full power, everything is growing and bearing fruit, we oftentimes step into our own power as well. Our lives take place mostly outside, we are more extroverted, which declines now that fall is on the doorstep. Our focus starts to wander inwards, it's time to let go, but also to harvest the fruit we sowed, literally and metaphorically. Again it is nature who shows us how. The leaves on the trees change their colors and let go of the branches, the days get shorter and colder. And as soon as winter moves in, the soil freezes, the trees are bare and the earth lies underneath a blanket of snow, it is is time for us, too, to rest and to dream. Like nature, our own growth needs a pause.
The energy of fall
For a few days now I have been hearing the call of slowness inside of me. Though the swallows are still here, the days still warm, the color of the needles of the larches are starting to change and with it the energy of the forest. I notice my need to sleep a bit longer, to retreat, to organize and to just be. I can feel how my whole system wants to follow the call of slowness, because it has become so much more connected to those natural rhythms since living in the mountains, but something in me resents this slowness. When I'm lying on my lawn chair soaking up the last sunrays, I hear a strict voice scolding and pushing me. When I sleep in until 8 o'clock, someone announces itself and instead of wishing me a good morning, it lashes out. When I prefer to sit by the river in the afternoons instead of in front of a computer, someone tries to convince me that I will never succeed like that and that my bills won't get payed by themselves and that I really haven't done enough today and oh yes, sport! I should do sport because the chocolate I ate won't just disappear like that.
I'm sick of this voice. That's why I have decided to truly grant me the permission to follow the call of fall and of slowness. It might be an inner struggle, but I can feel it with every fiber of my being that I'm cyclical and that I'd rather listen to this rhythm than to the one my inner strict voice dictates. There's nothing wrong with the energy of revival, of doing and of being extroverted. They belong to us, too, but right now it's not the time. Nature demonstrates, she is my mirror: I am allowed to retreat, I am allowed to harvest and to let go, I am allowed to become more quiet and to slow down after a swinging summer.
Maybe you also feel it, the call of slowness, and maybe you also know that inner struggle. And maybe you also need the permission to become slower. My words are your sign that it's ok, if you don't feel productive right now, that it's ok if you want to slow down a notch. We all live a cyclical life and just need to re-learn how to become aware of it again. But now is the time to return to ourselves, because there is no separation between us and nature. We are nature. Me, you, all of us!