When I rise up
let me rise up joyful
like a bird
When I fall
let me fall without regret
like a leaf
– Wendell Berry
Winding down, lower energy, letting go.
Just like the rich orange and fiery rich leaves of October that are readying themselves to fall, what can you let go of to make more space in your life for emptiness, reflection, and doing slowing down?
This is your time for shedding what hasn’t been working to make more room for what does. It’s your opportunity to transition from busywork to rest. You’ve been working hard and now your body and mind need to catch up.
Look at where you can tie up ends of projects (or just let some go that you know you’ll never get to), say no, and reduce what’s in your schedule.
Adjust your ambitions to focus on your need for balance and recuperation, not energy and achievement.
Commit to winding down and giving yourself what you need most right now.
Metric for living well
How much of your day is spent on obligations that are ready for you to let go of?
Questions to ponder:
What would this look like if it were easy?
How can you go easier on yourself?
What commitments can you drop?
What goals that you’ll realistically never work towards (but are still taking up mental energy) can you stop striving for?
What can you remove from your schedule?
Where are you agreeing to things you don’t need to do?
Where are you ignoring your needs and pushing too hard?
What can you declutter?
What loose ends or pending tasks can you tie up to free up mental energy?
What unhealthy habits can you replace with rituals that nurture your body and mind?
Books for autumn
Down to Earth: A Guide to Simple Living by Rhonda Hetzel – Whether you want to learn how to grow tomatoes and bake bread, or just be inspired to slow down and live more sustainably, Down to Earth is a lovely little guide.
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman – We’re obsessed with optimising our time. But we rarely think about the ultimate time management problem: the challenge of how best to use our four thousand weeks on earth. I adored this book about throwing productivity out of the window in favour of creating a life you truly want to lead.
Earthed: A Memoir by Rebecca Schiller – After moving to a countryside smallholding, Rebecca Schiller finds her family’s new life is far from simple. Overwhelmed by what she has taken on and reeling from the turmoil in the wider world, her mind begins to unravel. And so as the seasons change, she turns to her two acres, and to the women of this land’s past, searching for answers and hope.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang – On paper, this novel is an unusual one, embracing themes of discovering both autism spectrum disorder and the joy of sex. It’s the first in a trilogy, with each book focused on a female protagonist needing to let go of their old way of doing things to step into a new way of living.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown – A fantastic read for anyone who feels overcommitted, overloaded, or overworked. This is your guide to focusing on what matters most.
Lean Out: A Meditation on the Madness of Modern Life by Tara Henley – One woman’s search for doing things differently, after a health crisis forces her to step off the media treadmill and examine her life and the stressful world around her.
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