I noticed how the long-awaited relief of children returning to school was entwined with a feeling of loss and sadness this week. My mood dipped and I started to recognise this feeling as a familiar tone that sets in year after year in September. The sea suddenly becomes less inviting, I notice the evenings start to draw in and that abundant energy I had in June and July is no longer present. As the leaves start to fall from the trees and the seasons change, so do I. The familiar feeling is one of grief.
As a child I was sent to Boarding School, so each September my trunk would be packed and off I would go, leaving behind my mum, my cat, my house, my bedroom and have to quickly make the transition to being one of 30 girls sleeping in an open dormitory. There was no space for grief and transition then as I had to adapt quickly with a brisk goodbye at the door to my mum and a goodbye to the summer holidays and the time I had spent outside of this institution. As an adult I have always viewed September as a new beginning and am able to see how I have developed a pattern of often shedding jobs and relationships in the summer months, preparing for this new term to start.
However, these days those feelings of grief show up and I am no longer able to push forward as I have in the past. This has shown up in a cough in recent Autumns that I have struggled to shift. As a child in that first year at Boarding School I developed Asthma out of the blue. Many of us associate sadness and grief with the heart, but In Chinese Medicine your lungs are seen as a repository for these emotions. We have all encountered so much grief in the past six months. We may have individually experienced the physical loss of a loved one, we may have lost the job we cherished, the financial security we had, our space away from our children, our routine, our holidays, physical touch and our freedom of movement. We have all collectively experienced the loss of the lifestyle that we once knew. The ground that once felt solid beneath our feet is now like sand as we move into Autumn uncertain whether another Lockdown is on the horizon and we are still unable to plan for the future.
So, as the leaves have started to fall this week, and my energy levels started to droop, I have stopped in my rush to push forward and decided to be kind to myself. To give my body and my mind what it is asking for. Nourishing food, warm baths, and plenty of rest. I have started giving myself a massage each evening before bed with Bergamot aromatherapy oil, known for its mood balancing and uplifting properties. So often our minds can race ahead of our bodies with all these intentions and plans, and our bodies then crash with burn out / depression or a physical ailment that causes us to stop. Hopefully this year, I have spotted the signs early on and have started to slow down into Autumn and give my body and mind what it really needs and deserves. We are unable to fully go forwards and transition unless we make space to let go of our grief. We have all had to adapt so much these past six months and we are incredibly resilient to have done so, so make sure going into Autumn you give yourself the nurture that you need and deserve.