by Jillian Pransky
Autumn is a time of transformation in the environment. And nature outside always affects our nature inside us. As the trees go back into their roots, we are also afforded the opportunity to draw in, retreat, reflect and reconnect. In fact, many spiritual traditions use this season to reflect on behavior and choices made over the year. Practices and observances offer time to review any regrets, mistakes, or challenges made over the past year. This contemplations is meant to be a learning opportunity, so these behaviors are not repeated and instead replaced with more artful, graceful, or just actions in the future. The Autumn Equinox is a perfect time to create your own ritual for reflection, and recommit to more conscious, constructive, and compassionate behavior for the year to come.
TRY THIS SIMPLE PRACTICE ON YOUR OWN:
Take some time upon waking to relax and pause. You can either do a few moments of conscious breathing or a full yoga and meditation practice. Have an index card and a pen with you. After centering yourself, contemplate the question: What do you have gratitude for this year? What are the obvious and not so obvious blessings this year? Then write your answer on one side of the index card.
Pause again and take a few breaths and consider one or two of these questions and write your thoughts on the other side of the Index Card:
- What gifts have you’ve received from a challenge this year? What did it help you learn? How did it expand or change you?
- Is there a mistake you made or regret you have? What did you learn from it? How will your behave differently in a similar situation like that in the future?
- How can you support yourself in cultivating a new habit? Is there an old habit that is no longer serving your best interest?
- How can you create more balance in your life?
Burn the card: fire is a symbol of purification and of the energy needed to create transformation.
At night (sunset is ideal, when night and day stand in the balance), go outside and burn your index card as an offering and an intention to open to change and transformation. Every year, I burn mine in the same copper urn. But you can burn it in any kind of a heatproof container or a terracotta saucer, like the one you would put under a potted plant. Put a layer of sand or dirt in the bottom to help absorb some of the heat. Pause when it is done burning and enjoy the stillness of the night and the time you took to connect with yourself and your aspirations.
Jillian Pransky is an international presenter, National Director of Restorative Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training for Yoga Works and co-founder of the Bright Spirit Yoga Teacher Training. She leads programs at Kripalu, Omega and Mohonk. Jillian’s Calm Body, Clear Mind DVD and Relaxmore CD have garnered excellent reviews from many including Dr. Memhet Oz. She has been featured in many magazines including Yoga Journal, Self Magazine, Family Circle and appeared on CNN.