It’s that time of year again when the leaves start showing off their brilliant colors. It’s not happening in our neighborhood yet, but today we went out into the country and saw an amazing kaleidoscope of colors. I’m looking forward to apple picking and hayrides and hot cider and pumpkin picking.
I remember a guy I knew once telling me about the “energy” of the seasons and that while spring made him feel happy and energized, since it is a time of energy and renewal, fall always made him sad, as the days got darker and the trees let go of their leaves. I had never thought about that before, but it makes sense. Fall is a time to realize that in spite of our best efforts, due to the insane pace, we can’t do everything. In fact, we can’t do most things. It’s not good for us to take it all on anyway, but particularly this time of year.
Right now we have three teens living at home, our Spanish exchange student who will be here through Thanksgiving, my daughter and my son. In the last month, the two girls have gotten a stomach bug, then my son got a cold and now the girls have it. My son is going through the process of applying to seven private schools for high school and my daughter is immersed in her rigorous pre-IB program at her British School. Yesterday we did a college tour of Boston College for the girls and today a tour of one of the high schools for my son. The girls had a fair to volunteer at yesterday while my son played a soccer game. And my daughter had to get out her application to a counselor-in-training program, which ended up taking hours, since the application was almost as detailed as a college application.
With all this swirling around me, in addition to my own coaching clients and music, and my husband’s busy international career, there are so many other things that I need to let go of: overpopulation, global warming, which is causing destruction over and over while many deny the science; massive migration of poor people to Europe and the States, which these countries simply can’t absorb and still take care of their own citizens; political instability and unrest; a MeToo Movement, which was effective at first but has now turned into a witch hunt with no regard to accusing innocent people; and a polarized country in which everyone is focused on their rights and no one thinks of others’ needs. I no longer talk about politics with anyone who is not thoughtful and open to different views. Otherwise, it causes unnecessary stress.
So instead, I remind myself to let go and focus on what I can control. I can make self-care a priority and get back to my meditation practice, get to bed earlier and eat more vegetables. I can take daily walks in nature. I can do less for others, even my kids and our Spanish girl. I can focus on spending less time reading the news and more time creating. I can surround myself with positive people. Last week, I hung out with the girls’ soccer coach during their game and had so much fun laughing and shooting the breeze. My new favorite bumper sticker is “Bark Less, Wag More.” We all need to follow that advice.
As you find your world stage, notice what you are not willing to let go of and try to be less attached to whatever that is this week- whether it’s the outcome of an election, how you want a difficult neighbor to act, what you want your teens to do (or not do), or what will happen in the future. The reality is that most things we can’t control. Given that, let go.