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Times of transition impact us on all levels
September is a time of transition. For years, from my own childhood to parenting children of my own, this month brought with it an abrupt shift from summer to school days. For those who teach, it still does. But even if your academic days are long past, there is a sense of change about September that you can feel – energetically, emotionally, and physically.
Energetically, as the world around us swings back into action from its summer lull, we too shift gears – most of us from low(er) to high(er). Some of us feel rested from summer and enthusiastically ready to back “at it.” For others, however, the surge of energy required to keep up with September can be taxing and depleting. No matter which resonates with you, one thing is sure – we all need to be mindful of getting enough rest.
September creates some emotional upheaval as well. Again, some of us feel an inner surge of energy that reflects the hustle and bustle around us at this time of year. This energy can excite and invigorate us. It can stir up creativity and industriousness. On the other hand, many respond to the shift into September by feeling anxious, worried, and even unworthy. Either way, the “feel” of September is a swing away from the calm center of the emotional arc available to us all, which can require some mindful self-awareness.
The changes of September are also quite physical. Tropical storms tear through our neighborhoods. Mornings brighten noticeably later, and evenings darken earlier. Temperatures and humidity drop – resulting in longer sleeves and open windows. We feel these changes in our bodies. What we yearn to eat changes, as do the times we naturally waken and tire. There is nothing to be done to weather these shifts, but, again, be mindful and responsive to messages from our body.
Mindfulness practices help us stay steady – especially in hectic times
While I would argue that mindfulness is valuable all year long, it is especially important to maintain our well-being during this month of transition. Martha McAlpine, a kundalini yoga teacher, teaches that “outer chaos requires inner structure.” Mindfulness practices (yoga, meditation, prayer, journaling, contemplation, etc.) develop the inner structure that supports us through times of change great and small.
You would be far from alone if your reaction to the suggestion that you add a practice or two to your days right now, just as you are feeling hectic and busy as your life speeds up around you, is a resounding, “No way. That is crazy.” But I will say, quite insistently, that there is no better time for you to practice than when you don’t feel like you have the time to practice.
That bears repeating:
There is no better time to set aside the time to practice than when you do not have the time to practice.
How do mindfulness practices work?
Whether you are unrolling a yoga mat, sitting on a cushion, opening a notebook, or lacing up your sneakers, what you are really doing is giving yourself the space to connect (or re-connect) with YOU. Who and what matters to you. Who you are beneath all your scurrying around. The quiet, calm within that allows you to recenter, over and over again, no matter that the winds of life are blowing you all over the place.
In addition to providing the inner structure that allows us to be nimble, flexible, and creative in times of transition such as September, practices that reconnect you with yourself also provide a modicum of structure to these fast-paced days. Whether you are practicing before you hit the ground running, or before you hit the pillow, or as an oasis in the middle of a long day, your mindfulness practice gives each day an anchor – an expected, maybe even anticipated, time of turning inward in a season seemingly designed to pull you outward.
No matter how times of transition like September make you feel, by setting aside time for a daily practice of mindfulness, you are ensuring that you will be able to take this new season of life in stride.
Looking for support for your practices as you step into September? Join us for practice tomorrow 1-3:30 ET at our first monthly workshop. (Live in person or via Zoom.) Registration is required.