I recently went to Washington state to present a play therapy workshop and found myself thinking about the many times I had been to Seattle and the Pudget Sound area throughout my life since my grandparents lived in Seattle. Watching the years and the seasons pass more quickly than I would have imagined possible. Can it really be that long ago that I was a little girl?
Seattle is a beautiful community, not unlike our very own San Francisco. The weather was clear, crisp and dry. The trees were turning beautiful shades of red, yellow and orange. I stopped at the cemetery where my grandparents and other family members are buried and laid flowers on the headstone. As I stood by their graveside remembering Walter and Frances I reflected on the passing of time. I love Autumn, with the changing colors, the deep shadows that form at the end of the day, the cool brisk mornings. It is a time of year that I am reminded to pause, just like the trees, to release the old and make ready for the new. Seasons come and go with a gift to each of us. During the Fall we have celebrations like Halloween, Dia de Muertos, and Thanksgiving. These celebrations are about life and its abundance. As we approach the end of this year, I invite you to pause and reflect and remember.
Here are few ideas to help you examine your successes, count your blessings and remember all those who have walked with you as you have travelled through this year.
- Using a journal write about your favorite memories from this year.
- Gather some photographs of significant people and events that happened this year, create a scrapbook with space for writing about this.
- Find a special place; quiet backyard, favorite park or hiking trail – and sit silently listening to all the sounds around you – meditating on the abundance and blessings in your life.
- Using a drawing journal – use your non-dominant hand to draw what you feel about all that you experienced this year.
- Turn off the radio in the car as you commute – think about changes that you would like to see happen in the new year. Set some new goals for next year to have the life and support you seek. Write about this in your journal when you get home.
- Ask yourself, “What do I need to release to live in this season more fully?” Make a collage about this then share it with a trusted friend or partner.
Having a faith practice is important for many people. The expression of faith and believing that there is some being greater than ourselves helps us to cope with times of trial and darkness. I offer this prayer, sent to me by a friend, to remind us all of gifts of seasons that come and seasons that go.
O God of Creation, you have blessed us with the changing of the seasons.
During this season of Autumn,
may the earlier setting of the sun
remind us to take time to rest.
May the brilliant colors of the leaves
remind us of the wonder of your creation.
May the steam of our breath in the cool air
remind us that it is you who give us the breath of life.
May the harvest from the fields remind us of the abundance we have been given and bounty we are to share with others.
May the dying of summer’s spirit remind us of your great promise that death is temporary, and life is eternal. We praise you for your goodness forever and ever. Amen.
Mary Ruth Cross, MFT, NCC, RPT-S
CEO/Owner Treehouse Family Counseling Services, PC