Learning to Let Go

new bern nc, elaina avalos, autumn colors, christ episcopal church

Life has passed by very quickly the last couple of weeks. Work tends to do that to me. I’m one who wants to savor and slow the moments. My favorite pace is no pace. Haha. I’m a flip flop wearing, windows down, slow it down – kind of girl. Last I remember (okay, this is a slight exaggeration), it was October 1st. And here it is, almost the 22nd. I’m rushing through my days trying to get projects for work taken care of – which tends to mean my head is down and my energy is focused on what happens between 8-4, Monday through Friday.

Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year. While I am a great lover of all things Christmas (I have Christmas issues), I absolutely treasure the change of summer to autumn. Growing up in Southern California, we just didn’t do seasons. Not really. Sure, there are changes. But you’re just as apt to wear a sweatshirt on the beach in June, as you are in December. Nothing makes sense at home. “June Gloom” is a phrase any resident of “SoCal” understands well. If you live near-ish the coast, it’s not unusual to grab a sweatshirt for the bonfire on a summer night. Our summer days are hot. We have heat waves. But it can also be blessedly mild (all year). SoCal doesn’t have trees quite like we do here. It is a desert, after all. So the colors associated with this change of season aren’t as prevalent. There are exceptions. The photo below is from the mountains (Oak Glen, CA). I snapped that photo about 11.5 years ago. I couldn’t resist because it’s not a site I saw all that often. When I moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 2000, I was in heaven. Autumn in our nation’s capital is a sight to behold. It’s just not the same at home. I was in love. I knew then that I didn’t ever want to live anywhere I couldn’t experience the four seasons – in some form.

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.

L.M. Montgomery – from Anne of Green Gables


In the south, where I live now, summer is a joy to me too (for a few weeks). And then, when we hit mid-July or early August, I’m done. Done. It’s hot. It’s humid. And for a person who loves the outdoors, being outside is just . . . soul-sucking. As the temperatures drop here in the south, the humidity begins to dissipate too. There’s a chill in the air – in the mornings and I have to wear a jacket to work. Of course, by the time we’re midway through the day, the car is hot and I don’t even want to look at that jacket.

Along with the cooler temps, low humidity, and the color on the trees (it is slow-going out here on the coast), there’s a special golden glow of light in the early evening hours. It’s unlike anything I’d ever seen at home. I adore it. The scent of bonfires and burning leaves is a constant. Autumn reminds me of the ways that life shifts and changes. Autumn reminds me that no season in our lives is permeant. We may find ourselves dormant in the winter – feeling cold and dreary as the grey takes over – but eventually, life springs forth again.

I hate waking up, after a season has passed, with the realization that the piling up of the Monday-Friday made me miss the sweet, quiet moments I treasure and savor. Last fall, while I did write a novel – my life moved at a pace I couldn’t sustain. I don’t want that anymore. The goal, as I stay in place – because a weird God (but I love Him anyway), doesn’t move me – is to sustain the pace I long for, regardless of where life takes me.

oak glen ca, elaina avalos, autumn colors

Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.

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This is not an easy feat – sustaining the pace you long for, even when life is crazy. The truth is, life is in each moment. And yes, that means work & the stuff you don’t care for, too. The question is, where do you want to invest most your time, heart, effort, and energy? That’s an easy answer for me. Autumn is a stunning example of what it means to let go. I’m sure you’ve heard variations of the quote above. Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go. Learning to let go is a beautiful thing. Green – the deeper and brighter the better – is a reminder of life and all things new. As those green leaves change to yellows, oranges, browns, and reds – and begin to fall to the ground, it’s a quiet signal that in spite of the loss of the green, life is just as beautiful as always.

Once the leaves fall and life looks rather drab through the grey winter, there’s still growth happening. Deep in the ground and in the trees and plants, these processes continue on – though you can’t see them. This time of year, as the colors deepen and prepare us for the long days of winter, I’m reminded of grace, too. This is the beauty of the changing of the seasons. I needed the reminder this week to slow down. If you’re racing through your days, I hope you will take the time to slow everything down to savor the beauty, before winter comes – internally and in the world around you.

October & Letting Go

I love a good adventure. I always have. It’s what gives me the push to keep chasing dreams – even if no one sees or understands those dreams. By this point in the year, I guess the situation in the world would make anyone feel defeated. But I’m just picking up steam.

September was a month full of decisions, clarity about my place in the world, and honing in on what I hope to see happen in my life, as 2020 turns to 2021.

October ushers in a crisp, newness – as the leaves change color and trees prepare for the winter. The light changes – it’s golden and comforting. And as it has before, it signals new beginnings too – at least for me. Last year on October 1st, I started what I thought was my dream job as an Event Manager. I was in heaven. I just didn’t see the whole picture then (or even when I decided to move on). Nothing seemed to make sense. I see it more clearly now and look forward to what comes next.

It has been a year, no? If you’re tired and weary – instead of seeing us as inching toward the dull of winter, in a year that has stunk – maybe take the advice nature offers this time of year? We become more ourselves – our colors deepening and our purpose crystallizing – as we let go of what we thought life was supposed to be like. Let’s let go & in doing so, I think we’ll find some beauty around us and in who we are becoming.

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”