There’s a distinct feeling that comes over us this time of year, as the evenings become cooler, the daylight shorter, our lives shifting alongside the days. As the seasons change, we too do. This is the beauty of life, that the only constant thing, the only thing that never changes, is the presence of change in our lives. Until we can become comfortable with and embrace the change that comes with the seasons of life, we are sure to be at odds with life itself, and we’ll feel it. Negativity, dread, worry, attachment, unnecessary fear and resistance – we’ll live with all of these until we choose another, more graceful way to live, in tune with the laws of nature.
The thing is, that this is very likely the greatest challenge we will continue to face, in different forms, throughout our lives. Its a lesson we don’t want to learn, but that continues to teach us, to test us, and to teach us again. Just when you think you’re doing well, you’ve found peace and acceptance, another challenge of change is around the bend. The weeds grow back when you think you’ve finally got them under control.
A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling lost amid thoughts of change, overcoming me with the change of season. I love that promise of change, it excites and makes me feel that I am living a life worth living. Yet, alongside that excitement, of course, comes fears and worries about the future. Very human, very natural – we have all experienced these feelings at one time or another.
That day, I sat down in the grass, taking advantage of a warm, early-September sunny morning to quietly meditate, breath, and clear my head. At one point, I decided to open my eyes. Looking out over the vegetable garden that I have tended, at this perfect moment I saw bees buzzing about from flower to flower, a single hummingbird doing the same, moving back and forth from each flower faster than the eye could interpret, and monarch butterflies floating about on the breeze.
Upon opening my eyes – literally and symbolically – in the right way, at the right time, I was shown that everything is just as it needs to be in this moment. Our thoughts become struggles and even fights when we fail, or refuse to accept this. Instead of feeling anxious and worried, I felt calm, serene and at peace with life as it is. This complete change in perception was the result of about 5-10 minutes sitting in the grass.
You can sit anywhere you wish, inside or outside, in a chair or on the ground, so long as it is quiet and without distractions. All that I ask is that you sit in stillness, breathing, for 5 minutes each day, with no other agenda than to clear your mind and care for yourself and how your thoughts impact your reality. You will be amazed by how profoundly this simple daily practice can change your outlook and as a result, your life. Beyond that, you will also be improving your interactions with and influence on others. Try it out and observe for yourself what happens.
As humans, it is a natural instinct to try to control what we do not understand or what scares us, due to this lack of comprehension, a feeling of vulnerability, or attachment to what we know, like, or feel comfortable with. We cling to the summer fruits past their prime, while the apples fall to the ground.
Nature reminds us that we do not ultimately have control over anything besides our perceptions. Try as we may, we can never control nature, or life – if we are getting to the heart of things. Our attempts will backfire. Weeds encroach on our perfectly manicured gardens, with increasing vigour each year. Natural disasters and climate extremes strike harder and more often, with more frequency, when we continue to abuse the Earth. There are lessons to be learned in these repeating “inconveniences” to us, big and small.
We are not in control and must accept the laws of nature, including the inevitability of change.
All that we need, the answers to these lessons, are right there in front of us, if we simply slow down and become present enough, connected enough, to observe them.
Here’s a little recipe to get you embracing the change of seasons, a warming soup including squash, apples, & cauliflower – yummy!
Curried Squash and Cauliflower Soup
Makes 6 servings
2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
(or use 3/4 inch cinnamon stick ground fresh)
2 tsp. ground coriander
(or use 2 tsp. Whole seeds ground fresh)
1 tsp. ground cumin
(or use 1 tsp. Whole seeds ground fresh)
1 carrot, diced
1 leek, washed thoroughly and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped finely
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
2 apples, cored and chopped
1 small butternut squash (or other winter squash),
peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 head cauliflower, chopped or separated by hand into individual florets
3-4 cups water (just enough to cover vegetables in pot)
1 tbsp. raw honey
1 tsp. turmeric
2 tbsp. coconut or olive oil
2 tsp. sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Toasted pumpkin seeds*, to serve
- In a large pot, heat olive oil lightly over medium heat. Add spices and sauté in oil for approximately 2 minutes. Add a splash of water to cool the oil.
- Add leek, garlic, ginger, and carrot and sauté for an additional 5 minutes, until softened slightly. Add the apple, squash and cauliflower and sauté for 2 minutes more.
- Pour in the water, just to cover the vegetables. Gently bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
- Add remaining ingredients – honey, oil, turmeric, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Purée the soup in blender in small batches. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Serve into bowls, topped with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Notes: *to toast pumpkin seeds, place in dry skillet over medium-low heat, and toast until just beginning to brown slightly, or you will hear popping sounds
Freeze any extra soup in mason jars with a small amount of space left at the top. Then, defrost the morning you will be eating in the fridge. Reheat in small soup pot.
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