The Labor Day holiday, here in the US, leads us from vacations back into classrooms and/or full workweeks.
The equinox, later this month, heralds the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. It’s a celestial tipping point, after which the darkness outlasts daylight in the Northern hemisphere until the return of spring.
These outer shifts, and their attendant personal transitions (our internal responses to external change) may challenge our balance and our flexibility. We may feel pressured, or thrown off, especially if we are unfinished with summer. Or, enlivened by the back-to-school vibe and cooler temperatures, we hurry to shake off summer’s torpor and plunge into new activities.
Whichever way it is for you at this time of year, it’s great to notice the changing rhythms. And, amidst the changes, to seek balance and maintain flexibility. Without those, we can feel overwhelmed, even by good things.
One of our most basic balancing features – breathing - is factory installed. We can invoke it anytime. If you’re feeling off-balance, simply take a few moments to focus on your breath. Following its movement, in and out, grounds us in our bodies, and helps settle swirling thoughts or emotions.
Training our attention can be done in other ways that are just as grounding. If you find yourself hurrying along on the next “must-do” task, simply direct your attention to what your body is doing. Notice how your feet are moving you forward, down the shopping aisle or upward on the stairs. Encourage yourself to really feel the steering wheel with your hands. Or, silently narrate your of-the-moment activity: “I am standing on the subway platform, waiting for the train.”
All of these techniques help focus our minds and foster a greater sense of balance. And, when we are balanced, we can be more flexible as we cross the bridge from summer to fall.