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The Beauty in Falling Free

Photo courtesy of Jan Selby

This will sound like heresy, but I hate autumn.

Of course, I appreciate the kaleidoscope of color and Mother Nature really can put on a show, but I’m a child of summer and my mood drops along with the leaves. No amount of pumpkin spice will placate me.

I know this is the way of the natural world and the normal cycle of life. You’d think as the founder of a non-profit dedicated to talking about death and dying, I’d be just fine with fall but that’s not the case. Clearly, I have some work to do.

Watching leaves cascade from a tree the other day, it occurred to me they aren’t concerned about the letting go. When it is their time to detach, they fall free. It’s a lesson in letting go, in accepting the impermanence of things and reflecting on what is. We are always surrounded by death and not just when Nature pulls back and into itself as the seasons change from summer to fall and then to the dark of winter. As my friend, Iron Range writer/blogger/professor Aaron Brown wrote recently, “Death is the promise that makes life worth living.”

Photo from Jan Selby

So in this pandemic, when a lot of what we’ve known has been jettisoned and dreams, routines, and people are dead, what are we to do? One of the strengths to work on might be in becoming more comfortable with the letting go, as hard as that is.

Maybe we should look to the trees as our teachers.

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.” – Thich Nhat Hanh,

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