Hi there! How are you?

In my corner of the world, the season of fall is newly upon us. In America, this means pumpkin-flavored everything, cozy scarves, chilly nights, and, for many…sorrow. Fall is a time of loss– loss of leaves, daylight, and long summer days. For those with Seasonal Affective Disorder, fall can mark the beginning of a reoccurring, dark season of life. Even for those of us who don’t live with SAD, the diminishing length of daylight corresponds with lower levels of serotonin in our brains. Finding hope + contentment in the season of fall can be a real challenge. In this week’s Illuminate, I invite you to consider a powerful reframing of fall, and its representation of loss, that is changing my life for the better. (PS— for those of you not in the season of fall, forgive me! I think you will still find this idea worthwhile <3)

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Fall is the time to get very clear on that which is absolutely essential in your life and that which is not.

Even nature mirrors the human experience of loss during the season of fall: trees lose their leaves, flowers fade from summer-fueled bushes, verdant landscapes fade to shades of beige. And yet, it is from nature that we can learn to honor and navigate these emotions of grief + loss. Trees know that, in order to keep enough resources to survive the winter, fall is the time to shed all that is not necessary. 

If summer’s purpose is to fuel abundance, fall’s purpose is to fuel purification. Shed the fluff. Shed the obligations. Shed the “shoulds” and “coulds” and “what-ifs.” Shed all that no longer fuels you. Fall tells us: Purify your life. Like a tree saying goodbye to its brilliant red leaves, shed that which is not absolutely essential, pure, and necessary.

So you get the idea. Fall is a time for purifying your intentions, so that your precious, limited energy can go exactly where you want it to go. But what exactly are the essentials in your life? Take a few, fall-filled moments to find your favorite pen and create this list for yourself.

Making Your List

On a piece of paper, make two separate lists: Absolutely Essential and Could Let Go Of. The items on either side of your list could be physical, emotional items, or spiritual aspects of your life. They could be relationships, habits, or frames of mind. You can see my examples below.

Absolutely Essential
For example, my absolutely essential list includes: my relationship, my noble goal, time to connect with myself, and moments when I don’t know the time.

Could Let Go Of 
For example, the list of things I could let go of includes: social media time, self-criticism, and worrying about money. 

I made this list for myself one week ago, and I’ve done absolutely nothing with it (except sharing it with 2600 of my closest friends, of course). But, in the same way that writing down your goals increases your chance of achieving them, this list seems to have worked its way into many of my daily decisions. You may want to perform a more concrete action inspired by your list… help yourself! But I also invite you to give yourself the permission, especially in this low-energy season of fall, to let the clarification of your purist priorities be more than enough work for now.

How does the season of fall affect you?

Were there any items on your list that surprised you?

Make yourself a big pot of soup (food is always essential), gather your nearest and dearest (as is support), and whittle your calendar down to threadbare (so, too, is time). Revel in the purity that is this life you’ve chosen.

Illuminate is a weekly e-mail series that provides practical tips + galvanizing inspirations for practicing an emotionally intelligent life. In our time together, we’ll operate from the assumption that you have all the wisdom you need inside of yourself + that you have a purpose the world needs to see. We will explore the tools + techniques to illuminate your own inner wisdom and purpose. If you’d like to receive this free gift of goodness in your inbox every week, subscribe here.

Maria Jackson

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