I am sitting looking at the bare branches of my service berry tree directly outside my dining room window.
I recall a few weeks ago when I watched as the then orange leaves clung to the branch; I clung with them, not wanting to see them go. It felt too soon to me, and there was a heaviness in my chest at the idea of things being stripped bare again.
This past week, I witnessed another type of letting go as I supported a dear friend who’s father passed away. It was a great privilege for me to hold the space for both my friend and her sister, as they began to move through the unique right of passage of losing a parent. They were strong and vulnerable; appreciating the complex relationship they had with their father and honouring what he’d contributed to their lives.
As I hosted these women, I found myself wondering what it was that I was holding onto, that needed to go and also how I could fully honour what was given.
These questions made me think of the seasonal attunement which Scott speaks about in Restorative yoga classes and trainings; the idea that there is something which needs to be brought to my awareness, or that I need to be more responsive to, which is intrinsically linked to nature and our current season.
The fall is a time where the emotional spectrum moves from grief to courage and the way through that, the paramita, is vigor. For me, this idea of vigor, or the energy that I need to apply to my life, is not simply about being energetic in the world in the form of more “doing,” but is particularly related to how I am “being” in the world. It is a process of stripping away outdated ideas and allowing the associated emotions.
Like the service berry tree, if I consider myself as going back to my bark, letting the energy move toward the ground, then I’ll need to in turn release ideas and feelings which may no longer serve me.
How can I allow space and time for emotions that may want to cling on like that last leaf?
Can I be vigorous in my awareness around what needs to be attended to or expressed, in order for that energy to move through me?
Can I use my breath and my physical practices to help facilitate the process?
As the afternoon sun hits the branches of the tree, it occurs to me that I’m grateful for this new bare bark perspective; there are things which I can see more clearly without the leaves—the birds, the sky and the possibility held in the now dormant buds.
Written by Pam Johnson