Sitting on a yoga bolster in the Do Less Studio, I watch the leaves letting go, drifting effortlessly down through the branches to the ground beneath. Noticing their colours of gold and yellow, and even some red ones, contrasted against the dark maroon wall of the building across the street. Some even dangling from remnants of spider webs, making it look like a fall-time Halloween/Christmas-tree... thoughtfully designed by Mother Nature just for us. Mamma Nature has a pretty spectacular way of showing us the grandeur of cycles.
Moving along from the days of a beautifully long summer, the endless sunsets and warm lakes, now careening ease-fully into an Indian Summer. I’m looking forward to the cozying up with fall clothes, fireplaces, warm teas and maybe even a snoot of some tasty Scotch before bed. Nature also teaches us the effortlessness of slowing down to notice the flowing from one season to another and how transitions take time.
When we’re in the flow of life and noticing the details of it, we have the opportunity to experience life a whole other level. Those days that rush past us, deadlines due, projects to be completed on time, meetings to be had, getting kids to school, our degrees under our belt... life in the lane-of-fast-forward of what many of us experience on a day to day basis. Nature takes a different approach, in easing into it’s own workload. The days get done, the energy from the leaves of the soon-to-be sleeping oak moves slowly down the tall limbering trunks back into the earth. The nights round out in their cooling and soothing the warmed earth. The birds and animals start to make or take shelter or migrate to their alternate seasonal homes. All of this is done without complaining, without marking of time-lines, without the need to make the best money for least amount of effort.
True that there may be transitions through big dramatic storms, sometimes through the frost that coats the landscape on a fall morning and sometimes its through the letting go of a leaf and letting it be the food for next years compost for new trees. These things we humans measure as change, challenging, uncomfortable, uneasy... nature doesn’t know these words... it just does what it does and life progresses.
How do we absorb these ideas into our own practices of living? Well... the days come and go, the work will get done, the homework studied, the food will get made and eaten, the dishes will get cleaned, and we worried and rushed... why? To get it done quicker, to get it done efficiently, to get it out of the way so we can find peace and rest? Do we?What would happen if we took this idea of nature into our daily routines and ‘do less’ -worrying, struggling, stressing, stressing... would we obtain ‘more’ gain, possibly more happiness in the long-term?
Taking notes from a book I’ve been reading recently called The Slow Fix, by Carl Honoré. Where he talks about the longevity of production and sustainability of cultures based on taking time to study and observe where we’re at right now. Noticing that there are challenges in our day to day living, but how do we look at solving them over time. Study, observation and collaboration from each of us as individuals contributing in a community to sustain what we want to see and experience for tomorrow. I’m discovering that ‘doing less’ doesn’t mean ‘doing nothing’... it’s about doing things with awareness and mindfulness, participating, letting go of the petty things, loving more... resting when we need to rest. Even the falling... falling into things and ideas, or out of things that no longer serve us.
...letting go and falling, just like the leaf does... to begin anew... another cycle.