For kids, it’s back to school. And parents are reworking their schedules after figuring out summer vacations. Last-ditch summer plans are happening now. Barbecues are humming and there is one more day off to look forward to. Sometimes the fall is harder on folks (kids often). Sometimes it is easier (parents of kids who have been home all summer?). But for most all of us, the changing season, the “labor” Day weekend, the beginning of September and the coming of fall, remind us of a new start. Spring may be the new start for green buds and baby birds, but for humans, fall often reminds us of that first day of school: the new notebook, sharpened pencils (or computer), a packed lunch, the excitement and fear of going back to school.
But for the youngsters, we, the adults, know that there is no backwards for them. They have moved up a grade. They have grown an inch. They will make new friends and lose old ones. There will be battles to fight and victories small and large, inner and outer. There will be losses as well. We give them our best advice on stepping into whatever is next. We talk them through their fears, help them organize their backpacks, let them know just how much we love them and more.
But who does that for us?
As we tend to keep moving fast and faster, we might well forget to offer ourselves those same things: safety; support; caring; time. So as summer ends and fall moves in, what if, as adults, we think of moving forward, not going back to work or school or days without kids or the same old whatever. What if we didn’t go back even to those old and limiting beliefs that we have? We all have them, whatever they are and we go back to them like our favorite pair of jeans, over and over. They’ve got holes in the knees, they don’t fit, we maybe don’t even like them so much anymore, but we know them so well!
What are we stepping towards? It’s easy, as we age (for those of us who are no longer feeling 20 something), to see aging as the (dim) light at the end of the tunnel. And for many of us young and old, our bodies will struggle. A large percentage of folks have chronic illness or chronic pain, or undiagnosed illness, and all of us have the body that serves us better and less well depending on the day. And life throws the occasional curve ball as well. It sometimes hits us in the head. Sometimes we have dozens thrown at us in a single day.
So, we go back and hide in old ways of thinking, jeans that don’t fit, worldviews that are limiting, feelings that are from younger years… or we go forward and grow another inch, get into the next grade, make new friends, become smarter and wiser and live the best life we can. When the curve ball comes, duck if you can. If it hits you in the head, ice it. Then go on back to your life and to getting better all the time.
A few keys?
• Life needs balance! all work and no play, etc. But balance is about all aspects of life: work and play, inner world and outer world; feelings and thoughts: togetherness and solitude…. And more.
• Acceptance and Change! Go for both. Change what you can (without becoming fanatic about it) and accept what is. That old “serenity prayer” from AA says it all.
• Live What’s Truest! Whoever you are, know thyself and live in accord. The resonance of being true to yourself will save you from a lot of heartache.
• Use your Resources! You have many, no matter what your circumstances and they come as inner qualities of strength, resilience, creativity or a million other variations and they come as outer resources. You have friends, a library, places to go, ways to learn, allies and mentors.
• Breathe! Last one, just breathe and keep doing it, slowly, deeply, lovingly. Breathe all the days of your life.