As we pass the equinox and the season shifts into Autumn I am experiencing a shift too, which I want to share with you today.
What I’m going through as the wheel of the year turns feels like the culmination of a process that began two years ago, with my first experience of burnout and adrenal fatigue.
In the past few weeks I’ve faced further health issues, and this time I know to pay close attention to the message that my body is bringing me.
Letting go, part one
When I first decided to let go of leading the Winning Women networking groups, I felt very strongly the urge to release the responsibility I had taken on and give myself some time to focus on what I wanted.
I was starting to realise that I am by my nature a massive supporter of other people. I love coaching, encouraging and nurturing talent and potential in others, whether in my family, my career or my wider network. That’s not a bad thing, by any means. It means so much to me to see others succeed when I’ve helped them or been of service in some way.
But “the way you do one thing is the way you do everything”, and it’s this tendency to give and give that has been my biggest challenge in recent years, and one which I’m still coming to terms with.
The thing is, there’s always something that I feel that I “should” be doing. Gradually I am learning to trust my instincts and follow the pull of what I want to do or what I feel I am “called” to do, more than what I think I “should” do.
More to surrender?
Walking away from the original incarnation of Winning Women was a big step for me. This week I’ve been watching the big Horse Chestnut in my garden as its leaves turn crisp and fall, and I’ve felt such resonance with it.
I feel as if my business and my life is in an Autumn stage, but the strange thing is it’s as though I’ve been stuck in this stage, all this time.
I’ve realised that what I thought I would do was let go and release what no longer felt right, and then move into creating something new.
You can see the omission there! I tried to go straight from Autumn to Spring, not allowing things to die off and be empty.
In my life it’s like I’ve tried to “engineer the season” by avoiding the winter.
It’s as almost as though I’m like those leaves but I’m trying to cling to the tree. To keep everything going. Now, as we come into Autumn once more, I am seeing that the stage which I’ve missed is the most important one: of winter, rest and stillness.
So what’s keeping me stuck?
Part of this, I recognise, is ego. I’m attached to what I’ve created and it’s a big part of my identity. I don’t want to let go of what was because my ego fears that without it I won’t be worthy.
Letting go creates fear. It’s associated with “defeat” and “failure” in my mind. My school motto “nil desperendum” or “never give up” is ingrained deeply in my mindset. In the past that’s something I’ve taught my clients: “success is round the corner, don’t give up right now”.
But lately, that “keep going” attitude has felt like a very masculine way of working. I’m not flowing like the leaves on the tree.
Can you relate? Are you holding on to elements of your life because, deep down, you’re afraid of what might happen if you let them go – even if they’re not filling you with energy?
A friend gave me an orchid a while ago, and once the flower had passed it sat in my kitchen, dry and dead-looking. I was on the verge of throwing it away, when something in me told me to wait. And, in a few short days, it burst into flower once more.
That reminds me that sometimes we don’t need to do anything. All that plant needed was sunlight and water… and rest. Stillness.
Allowing the full spectrum
I’m committing this year to letting the wheel of the year to turn fully, and that means consciously letting go of many of the responsibilities that had lingered on long after I’d decided I was going to make changes.
I’ve loved sitting in circle this year with the women who’ve joined me for the virtual circles. For the women currently in circle I will extend the opportunity to continue sharing in October and November, but other than that my intention is to go into “hibernation” for a while.
Not to create, or promote. To rest and prepare for what’s next. I know that’s what I’m craving right now; I know space and silence will be restorative. And I’m feeling the urge to write, too, and I’ll be sharing some of that with you as this journey unfolds.
They say that if we don’t take in a lesson the first time round, it will return until we do, and this Autumn has very much inspired that feeling in me.
I’m paying attention and aiming to restore some of that “yin” energy my heart and body are craving.
Now’s the time to pour my energy back into the ground, connect to my roots and and soak up the nutrients.
How about you?
What are you noticing as the Autumn season begins? Are you ready to let go and rest or are you feeling a rush to create and complete things you’ve started? I’d love to know; sharing our experiences gives others permission to do the same, and even to change our stories.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.