Autumn Leaves. Not only do they look fabulous as they slowly drop from the trees and swirl in the wind but they also have a very important lesson to teach us. Letting go and going with the flow.
“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?” – and yes, I am totally quoting (or shall I say, singing) Katy Perry’s song “Firework”. How many times in your life have you felt lost? Not quite sure what to do, what to follow, or who you want to be? We put so much pressure on ourselves to know the answer right now but what if we instead embraced these times where we are adrift, lost? For who is ever really found?
We are always journeying and never really arriving at a given destination. For every corner we turn we see there is another, for every mountain we climb, we see there is another larger one ahead, and so it goes. We are always on our way to somewhere – so who cares if it’s not in a straight and/or logical pathway? Be like the autumn leaves!
the journey of autumn leaves
Autumn leaves know when it is time to let go, detach and allow themselves to literally go with the flow. They trust themselves to the wind and are thus carried gently to the ground. If you sit and watch an autumn leaf on a windy day you will see that it’s journey from branch to the earth is not straight forward. It’s actually full of ups, downs, swirls.
If we look at the cycle of certain trees through the seasons, it is imperative that autumn leaves fall. In winter, some trees in the face of extremely low temperatures, rough winds and storms need to let go of their leaves in order to have enough energy to stay alive. An autumn leaf has to let go of the tree. But once the autumn leaf lets go, its life is not over. Once it has floated to the forest floor, in its decomposition it is reabsorbed into the earth, nourishing the trees and wild life around it. Therefore the trees can regenerate in the coming seasons.
Now let’s think about the concept of letting go. If you hold on you cannot possibly think that you can move. You are stuck, perhaps safe but stagnant. When you are ready let go and allow yourself to flow with the wind then there is movement, possibility. If you hold onto someone or something you cannot possibly think that it will ever come back because you are holding it. By never letting it go it has no chance to return to you. A boomerang cannot function unless you release it from your hand.
If you are holding on you are unable to let anything new into your life because your hands are not open, they are not free. It is only when you let go of what you are holding that you will be able to invite new things into your life.
follow the bread crumbs
I once had a teacher tell me to follow the bread crumbs, to follow my curiosity. To not worry where the bread crumbs led but to trust that they would lead me where I needed to go. And although the idea of surrendering, and letting go of control can be terrifying, it can also be liberating. And who knows where the cookie crumble may lead you? If you are open and trusting, nothing is off limits. Let go and see what the Universe offers up.
As the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, said:
“drift like a wave on the ocean” and “blow as aimless as the wind”
In short, live without striving. So if you find yourself lost, or not knowing who you are, maybe you are exactly where you need to be? And if you allow yourself to be lost then maybe you will be found? Or as the Japanese poet, Ikkyu, says
“Having no destination, I am never lost.”
About the Author
Emma Hawthorne is a professional Singer and Dancer as well as Yoga and Dance Instructor. She has toured with many Australasian tours of Musicals including Wicked, Hair, Mamma Mia, West Side Story, and Dr Zhivago. She frequently teaches Yoga and Dance at the Sydney Dance Company Studios as well as other studios in and around Sydney. She also has on online studio omunay.com where she has hundreds of online classes in Yoga, Dance, Pilates, and Meditation. Emma is currently living a self-converted bus home called ‘Winnie the Mini Bus’ and travelling around Australia.