Fall Equinox: My Harvest

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I can't begin to tell you how helpful it is to do a little reflecting on your life at the beginning of fall. Last week, I blogged about the Fall Equinox and some of the symbolism we can take from nature to learn more about ourselves. Each year, the fall equinox not only welcomes the first day of fall, but also is really neat because it's one of only two days in the entire year where day and night are in balance. It brings up two really important questions that I encourage you to ask yourself: 1) day and night are in balance, are you? and 2) since fall is associated with harvest time, what are you harvesting in your life? What seeds did you plant in the spring to give life to over the summer? What did you dream of and work on this year and what do you have to show for it now, at harvest?Those are deep questions, but ones worth asking if you're on a journey of self discovery. If you'd like to hear more about diving into those (very personal) questions, read my post from last week Fall Equinox: What's Your Harvest?

​Life /goals / dreams / resolutions rarely turn out how we think they will, so if you need a little encouragement, keep reading to hear about my own harvest this year.

If you've been inwardly reflecting on your harvest thus far into the year and find yourself a little stuck— take heart — self discovery is the hardest work there is. I used the word work there on purpose. It is hard work, but what if we also try to view it as a big, exciting, adventure that will end up with priceless treasure: wisdom. "Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom," after all. A guy named Aristotle said that.If you feel stuck and you can't think of any victories, goals achieved, or dreams captured to show for your year, try this: 1) read my post from last week to help you see that you have a lot to show for your year after all, and then 2) set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write a few things down that you've done this year or lessons you've learned.

This is my new favorite quote. Joseph Campbell said: “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” It seems to me that the beginning of a new season is the perfect opportunity for you to evaluate where you are, how you're doing, and how your progress is going.

"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."

​The following are some things I've learned so far this year. At the risk of being vulnerable (gulp), I'm sharing them with you in hopes that you'll see that some of your biggest victories may be going completely unnoticed. As I said in last week's post about the equinox, your best harvest may not even be related to your "goals."My year's harvest (so far)... let's do this before I chicken out.

1) The first one — and this is a big one: I don't need anyone's validation or approval. 
Not my friends', not my family's, no one's. All that matters is what God thinks of me, and if I'm living in alignment with that higher power. That is living with integrity. If you haven't realized this yet, you're not living free. As long as you're trying to please other people or getting validation from the wrong places, you're missing out on really being you and finding your own path. 

I don't need anyone's validation or approval.

2) For the last couple of years at the start of the new year, I have chosen a word. This year's word is: resilience.
Basically, I choose a word that I'd like to explore and embody the qualities of more during the year to come. I picked a doozy this year, no? It's a big concept and I'm so glad I landed on that word. Here are two things I've learned (so far) about resilience. The first one is that resilient people tend to be focused on their goals, BUT flexible in how they get there. They are willing to alter, adjust, and pivot. They are reasonable about how and when they get there; they are not so stubborn, like me. In The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, she talks about cultivating resilience in one of her 10 guideposts for wholehearted living. (I blog about Wholehearted Living and her 10 Guideposts a lot; they are so worth thinking on for a little bit.) The other thing I've learned about resilience is that it's kind of like living life similar to a bouncing ball. There are always going to be ups and downs; but when you're down, you must get back up.

​There are always going to be ups and downs; but when you're down, you must get back up.

​3) How I view my success and self worth. 
Going down the rabbit hole to ponder this one has been hard, but awesome. These days, we put value on ourselves in all the wrong ways. Have you noticed that our culture likes to assign numbers a lot? Value comes from how many dollar signs we make, the number on the bathroom scale, how many followers we have, how many likes we get, etc. These are all the most ridiculous, dumbest, spiritless, boring things. As I get older, I get bored with mundane stuff like that much faster. (Thank goodness.) Real success and worth comes from within and above. It's always going to be a struggle for me and for all of us because life doesn't turn out the way we think it will most of the time. Growing up, I always thought I'd have a standout career somewhere very chic and be important. But then I met my husband, a farmer in rural South Carolina and all of that went out the window. I'd trade it all again for him, too. Maybe life doesn't look how I thought it would when I was young, but it's so much better than I could have ever imagined. I love our old farmhouse, I love our farm life, and he's the best thing that ever happened to me. Maybe I don't have a highfaluting job somewhere trendy and wear high heels to work everyday, but I have the privilege of leading others in yoga and fitness many times a week, and also of writing to you. I cannot imagine anything better; plus I get to wear yoga pants every single day.So, then, here are some things that I've learned this year that my success is absolutely not based on: my income/money ... being productive (aka: busy) ... checking off my to-do list ... having a perfect house ... how I compare to others ... being exhausted and run-ragged ... can you believe these are some of the things we wear badges of honor for these days? I won't do it anymore. My success comes from my own definition of success. Knowing what is important to me (my values) and living in an authentic way is how I define success. Here's what it comes down to: my success comes from my own metric and my self-worth comes from God (see number 1). End of story. I don't like high heels, anyway.

My success comes from my own metric and my self-worth comes from God.

4) I am a messy, flawed, real person... just like everyone else. 
I am a work in progress. We all are. But learning to see the beauty in that makes me smile and relax. It sounds cliché, but I'm gonna go there anyway: enjoy the journey. The journey is beautiful. ​

I am a messy, flawed, real person... just like everyone else. 

​5) I love to make things harder than they need to be.
I do. I really, really, do. I'd go so far as to say this was a secret passion of mine. I slowly realized it in small ways over the years, but something about all of the learning I'm trying to do (self-discovery and all that, remember?) in the last year or two really magnified this one. In fact, a lot of my other harvest items relate to this very flaw if you think about it. It permeates them all. It permeates many aspects of my life. Here's what I realized: I make things harder than they need to be in order to feel accomplished. Too easy = ordinary, "meh," and not worth noticing or celebrating. I'm actively trying to shift this paradigm because it's harmful and dangerous. New motto: good enough is better than perfect. We all know deep down that perfectionism robs us of joy and we'll never be satisfied. That sounds horrible. I don't want that.  Embracing when things occasionally do happen in a fun and easy way is a new found pleasure. Not all accomplishments are as difficult as I think they need to be. Enjoy those victories and be thankful for them instead of feeling unsatisfied.

Good enough is better than perfect.

6) The old saying is true: the more I learn, the less I know.
Wow-oh-wow have I learned that. I've known this for a long time with other stuff... but it also applies to ME. The more I learn about myself, the less I know. (Which is actually a great thing; stay with me and laugh with me about all this.) It's like anything else you're interested in: you decide to learn about something, so you dive in headfirst to learn about said topic. We'll call that Topic A. When you start learning about Topic A, you realize you really need to brush up on Topic B to understand Topic A better. When you read up on Topic B, you realize that you don't know much about it after all, so you'd better Google Topic C, too. Then you go down the rabbit hole learning about Topic C, and realize that in order to understand it, you need to learn at least a little bit about Topic D. Maybe you'll buy "Topic D 101" or "Topic D For Dummies." Finally... you realize... you don't know much at all. At all! You have a whole perspective shift about everything related to Topics A, B, C and D.​At first, I thought this was discouraging. What a mess. Then it hit me: that's real wisdom. Realizing that you do not, in fact, know much at all. Being wise enough and open minded enough to admit that you need a perspective change and to appreciate all that you just learned. (After all, you just learned so much about Topics A, B, C, and D.) The experience of learning and growing, and of realizing that you are a beautiful work in progress is wisdom. I don't feel discouraged about it anymore. Instead, I feel badly for those who never dive headfirst into learning about anything, and have never had this experience or revelation. I think that, perhaps, people of depth have this happen quite often. One should ever stop evolving. And I think that, perhaps, continual learning with humility is the way to really knowing yourself. Plus a healthy does of laughter.

The experience of learning and growing, and of realizing that you are a beautiful work in progress is wisdom.

​Really, all of these lessons could (and should) be their own blog post. They're all big lessons, after all. What a harvest I've had this year, huh? How absolutely thrilling.Now go and think about it: what are some of your own discoveries or harvests this fall? Acknowledge your progress.

​Love & Light.

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