Will your autumn be an ordeal or an adventure?

Posted on: September 22, 2020

“The difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude”.

Today is the Autumn Equinox – one of only two days in the year when the day and night are exactly the same length. In the northern hemisphere it’s the tipping point into the darker part of the year when night is longer than day.

For the past 10 years I’ve been following the Celtic Calendar and marking its eight key dates in the year. When so much is uncertain in our lives, I find it comforting to anchor myself to these reference points of the Earth and sun which – despite the ecological turmoil of our times – lie beyond human interference.

Celtic Calendar

Today I’ll take time to review the last 6 months and set an intention going forward. It’s so easy to feel powerless right now and remembering that I have this choice is a great antidote.

The spring Equinox was on Friday 20 March – just 3 days before Boris Johnson made the dramatic announcement that  plunged the UK into lockdown – the biggest curtailment of freedoms that has happened since the Second World War. Most of us have never experienced anything like it and the last 6 months has been one of the most extraordinary and unsettling times of our lives.

As a culture we are chronically disconnected from nature and the rhythms of the seasons – known as “nature deficit disorder”. In some ways this has been even more scrambled by lockdown – just at the time of the year when we’re emerging from the hibernation of winter into spring and being out and about, we were confined to our home, hearth and family – the wintery indoor pursuits of baking, board games and box sets on Netflix.

Yet at the same time the only outdoor activity we were permitted was our precious hour a day outdoors – walking, running and cycling. Combined with the sunniest spring on record, whilst socializing was denied me, this gave me an unparalleled intimacy with nature and the spring.

We’re now heading into autumn and winter, facing growing restrictions on how much in person contact we can have, plus collectively facing economic uncertainty as the furlough comes to an end and the cost of lockdown starts to bite. Consciously anchoring myself to the seasons is a good antidote to mounting anxiety.

I’ll reflect on:

  • What have I achieved in the last 6 months?
  • What have I learnt about myself and those I care about? (Personal: open water swimming is essential to my wellbeing and I can’t hack chlorinated pools any more! Work: the importance of starting each meeting with a wellbeing check-in: “How are you REALLY?”)
  • What am I letting go of that I no longer need?
  • What will sustain me over the winter months?

I invite you to take some review time over the next few days – and let me know what you discover…