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Ready. Set. GO! Does September Feel Like You're on the Starting Line of a Race You aren't Ready For?

Are you ready for the faster pace of life as summer ends?

Ah, September. That time of year that makes you feel like you’re at the starting line of a race in a car designed to go from 0 to 60 in a split second. Your game face is on. Your hands rest firmly on the wheel. Your engines are revving.

The flag drops (that’s Labor Day in our analogy) and you’re off. Your hair is flying. Your body is pressed back into your seat by the G-force of your powerful surge into action. Maybe you’re smiling with anticipation of all that lies ahead. Maybe you’re grimacing a little at a rough change of gears.

Either way, September has you moving faster than you have moved in weeks.

Since summer began, I suspect that you’ve embraced a slower pace. Maybe your job slows down or you client load lightens when so many are away on vacation. Maybe you’ve been away on vacation. Maybe the longer days just help you feel like there is plenty of time to get everything done without hurrying. Maybe over the last couple of months you’ve chosen to add some quiet into your days – time to read for pleasure, or to get outside, or to watch the sun set.

However you’ve embraced summer, you might feel September pulling you away from the relative peaceful rhythms you created during the summer.

The shift into fall can cause various reactions.

Some years this shift into September makes me feel rebellious. (“Heck no! I’m not getting caught up in the rat race again this year!”) Some years I feel naively optimistic about my ability to hold onto summer despite the fact that the world around me and Mother Nature herself have clearly moved on. But not this year.

This year, for some reason, September feels like a natural next step. This is odd for me. Hesitantly (I don’t want to upset the apple cart, after all), I’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on. Why am I so, surprisingly fine?

What if we could quietly and slowly embrace the noise and hurry of fall?

A friend shared the following excerpt from a poem by Macrina Wiederkehr (from her book A Tree Full of Angels) and I understood:

I was asked not to run away
from my noise and my hurry
but to enter it and embrace it most gently. 

It was at that moment
Of my entering
That I felt the miracle. 

The quiet in me smiled on my noise
The slow in me smiled on my hurry
And my life miracle into a calm on the lake

This year, I am entering September and embracing it gently. I am not running away from my noise and my hurry. The quiet in me that has dominated for the last couple of months is not feeling drowned out by the noise of my resuming activities. The slow in me is not feeling challenged by the faster pace I’m being asked to adopt. I’ve noticed that I’m smiling as I change gears this year.

It’s a balancing act to feel balanced, and worth every bit of the work.

My first lap around my metaphorical racetrack has felt notably calm and balanced, which is almost unheard of for me at this time of year.

As each yoga posture I take on my mat is meant to be a balance between effort and ease (sthira and sukha), perhaps I am too. Perhaps I have found a (perhaps momentary) balance between two sides of me that are equally important – my quiet, slow half and my busy, bustling half.

My quiet, slow half naturally flourishes during the summer. But setting aside time to get on my mat and practice yoga and by getting into my sneakers and outside with my dogs are ways I can give her some space year round. Rather than saying “Sayonara” to her as September begins, I’ve been quite deliberate about setting aside time each day to embrace my slower, quieter self. In return, I can almost feel the “quiet and slow in me” smiling as my pace picks up and my responsibilities increase.

At the same time, I can feel the noisier, busier side of me stretching after weeks of rest. I can feel the strength and endurance of that side of me blending with the quiet, serenity of my summer self.  I’m noticing that it is possible for me to shift from task to task as smoothly and as calmly as I shift from posture to posture on my mat. I’m noticing that the blending of my two sides feels natural and right. Balance, it turns out, feels very good.

Balance, I know, from years on my mat, can also be somewhat fleeting. It requires confidence not to grip onto the status quo but to allow yourself to sway. It requires a million little recalibrations as the posture you’re in shifts and changes. The balance I’ve momentarily found and am hoping to maintain in my life will be no different. It’s all a part of “the race.” And, somehow, this year, I know I’m up to it.

If you’re seeking a way to gently embrace fall’s faster pace, join our community of like-minded students and seekers.