An Autumn Reflection and Invitation

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Now is the season for an autumn reflection.

 

a black coffee mug with the words, “Let the autumn leaves remind me how beautiful change can be.” written in white

 

The fall has always been my favorite season.  The relief of the summer heat being replaced by crisp mornings, the sound of leaves crunching under my feet, and the setting sun over the soccer field bring a deep sense of rhythm and anticipation.  I love removing the end of my summer plants, sprucing up my porch, and pulling out the cozy throw blankets and the fall coffee mugs.

 

A few weeks ago, on the first day of fall, I was thrilled to go to my basement and open my seasonal box to grab the fall mug that has been my favorite for the last few years. It is from one of my favorite online shops, Steady + Flight.  It is a beautiful, black, matte mug with a quote I love written in white script. It says,

Let the Autumn Leaves remind me of how beautiful Change can be

 

I am not one who loves or rushes into change, and so this little mug has been a sweet friend these last few autumns.  In years past, there have been nights when my house has finally been quiet, that I have filled my mug and snuggled up on my couch under a blanket, and had space to gather my thoughts and process my day. This mug has prompted me to look for beauty in periods of change and in this ever-shifting season of early motherhood.   

 

While I was excited to unpack the mug and bring it to my kitchen … I honestly … haven’t used it yet.  At times I’ve glanced at it and then left it there on the counter.  At other times, I’ve picked it up and then put it back down— not ready to use it, but not ready to put it away either. The mug hasn’t felt as inviting or comforting as it has in prior years. 

 

Moments like these, when I find myself resisting something I typically enjoy or find comfort in, usually serve as a signal that there is something happening that I need to pay attention to and make space to process. 

 

I think my resistance towards using the mug speaks to where I am, and I imagine where some of you may be, too.  With everything our world has held these last eighteen months, there has been much change and loss.  Change that has impacted our daily lives, our schools, our rhythms and relationships, our workplaces, visits to the library and church and even playgrounds— there has been continuous change and loss everywhere.

 

And so, if I’m honest, I don’t really want to look for beauty in the changes right now.  

 

a woman staring at the ground, wrapped in an ivory colored blanket on a tan couch

 

I feel more drawn to list out the things that have been lost. I feel drawn to putting words to the changes I have experienced.  I feel drawn to releasing some more tears about it all.  I feel drawn to grief and lament.

 

I wonder, Momma, if there has been space for you to pay attention to how this season is impacting you?  I wonder if there has been space to grieve the changes and the losses you and your family have faced?

 

It can be tough to find space for that processing, can’t it?

 

If you feel drawn to make space for some of that processing, I have included some questions to consider starting with below.

 

I have a sense that, as I pay attention and make space for some of the grief I’m feeling now, I may begin to see bits of beauty.  It won’t be beauty that will eclipse or minimize the grief or loss.  Perhaps, it will be beauty like those of the vibrant crimson and golden yellow leaves of autumn— the leaves that have been resilient amidst the spring thunderstorms, sustained the hot summer, and then surprise us with beauty on their weary fall days.

 

fall leaves of yellow and brown strewn on the ground under a tree

 

Whether or not you feel the need to lean into some of this processing, I hope you know that it is okay if this season continues to feel hard, or if there are things you typically enjoy that you don’t feel up for these days.  There isn’t a timeline for how we process what we’ve experienced, and I hope there is space for you to tend to you, as you notice your need.  You matter, Momma.

 

 

Questions to Consider:

If you’re interested in making space to check in with how you are carrying these days, consider starting with one of the questions below.  I would encourage you to read through them, select one or two, and start there.  You may process them on your own in a journal, or think through them during a quiet car ride or while you’re on a walk or run.  You may consider discussing a few with friends or your spouse over dinner. 

 

  • Have I found myself avoiding or resisting a rhythm, relationship, or practice that I typically enjoy or turn to for comfort? If so, which one and why?
  • As I think about the last year and a half, what do I notice? Do I need more space to process losses or changes? Do I need some space to cry? Am I feeling numb or disconnected?
  • How do my relationships feel right now? Which relationships feel close, and where do I notice distance?
  • Have I made a list of what I have lost in this season? Does that sound inviting?
  • What is a need, or multiple needs, that have been hard to meet in this season? Is there a step I can take this week that would help me get closer to getting that need met?
  • Am I able to see beauty amidst this season? Can I name things I am encouraged by or thankful for, or that bring me hope?

 

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Rachel is originally from the Chicagoland area, but has grown deep Saint Louis roots over the last fifteen years. She married her high school sweetheart and they live in the Metro East with their three children and spunky puppy. Rachel is the kind of Mom who loves watching her kids grow and learn new things, and also wishes time would slow down a bit. Rachel and her husband love to travel together, dream together, and enjoy time with friends and family. Rachel loves getting lost in a story and is always up for a book or podcast recommendation. She loves time outside, good questions, long conversations, and a good theme to plan a party or meal around. Rachel works as a Child, Adolescent and Family Therapist who provides counseling, parent coaching and equipping. She loves helping parents strengthen their relationships with their children, and helping parents understand their children through a developmental lens. Rachel believes we were all meant to be heard, feel known and be absolutely delighted in.

4 COMMENTS

  1. So so true! It can be hard as a mom to make that space, but it is so helpful. Thank you so much for this reminder and the helpful and actionable questions!

  2. Thank you so much for this, Rachel. I’m saving these questions and putting a reminder on my calendar to take some time with them. ♥️

  3. I like the idea of making space for the negative feelings and really taking the time to process them. Sometimes I think we need permission to admit we are not okay. I took a screenshot of the questions, so I can reflect on them soon.

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