Make Fall Your New Beginning in Four Easy Steps
We’ve approached that magical time of year – that time that makes me happy I live in New England and able to witness the most beautiful fall foliage. Taking nature walks this time of year fills me with a sudden, invigorating desire to make this my new start.
What is it about fall that brings so many new beginnings to mind?
The smell of freshly sharpened pencils, of mulled cider, of brisk autumn air. The earthy color of bark, the excitement of football season, and the hot touch of toasting pumpkin seeds…
Fall brings all of these memories to mind. It reminds me of childhood, family, holidays and tradition. But most of all, fall reminds me of who I am.
I've always loved nature, ever since I was a little girl. My nature walks were my time to daydream and collect little treasures along the way. I'd often come home with pockets full of acorns, mulch, flowers I’d picked off of neighbors' lawns, pebbles and a bit of dirt.
My fantasies were vivid, and the world felt so alive around me. To me, the trees had faces, the sun had a song and even as a kid, I knew I was living in a world of miracles.
Nature was how I continually rediscovered myself. Every day, the world felt new.
When life took an unexpected turn, I could find solace in what had always been there – and what had always shown me that the nature of ANYTHING in life is to naturally change. Who better to show me that than the trees? And the whole world of nature that always had created a home for me?
AWAKENING TO GRATITUDE
As I became more alert after my coma, I slowly rediscovered the world I had been away from for so long. It felt like every smell, every sight and every interaction was being experienced for the first time.
As my family sat by my bedside, I noticed things about their demeanor and our dynamics I had never taken the time to see before. I realized that these quiet, intimate moments can speak volumes.
In a way, being snatched from the hustle and bustle of everyday life provided an opportunity to connect more deeply with my loved ones. We had been given the precious gifts of quiet time, with no distractions. Things I hadn't noticed before –my mother's smile, a friend's laughter, the love and support all around me — now evoked feelings of profound gratitude.
NATURE REMINDS US OF WHO WE ARE…
…and who we have always been. Bit by bit, I started to feel myself materialize back into the person I knew before my coma. This time, however, I was equipped with a deeper wisdom and a vivacious new desire to discover the world.
Finally, outside the hospital, I got to enjoy my first breath of fresh air in months. I remember seeing the sunset for the first time since the coma, and I felt like a child being born all over again.
Even the mundane became glorious — seeing people having lunch outside, the roaring of traffic, birds overhead — and the more I saw, the more I wanted to be a part of it.
Now, here I am, a decade later.
I’m healthy, grateful, and a part of the world again. It’s the wonderful world I knew as a nature-loving, happy-go-lucky teen. Life has an extra little spark behind every sunset, friend, and routine experience.
I admit that I still get caught up in the rush of everyday life. I always try to remember what it felt like to breathe in the sunset in that rusty old wheelchair. When I do, the overwhelming sense of gratitude floods my senses again.
But being in the moment and “stopping to smell the roses” is a lot easier said than done.
So, I try to break it down for myself so the process of stopping and appreciating the world around me isn’t terribly overwhelming:
Four Ways to Intrude on Nature:
Eat Outside: You don’t need fancy picnic baskets or a farm to table meal – just move away from the kitchen table, pack up some dips, roasted vegetables and festive salads, and sit in the backyard or a neighborhood park.
Get Active Outside: You don’t need to go on a camping trick, or seek out the steepest mountain biking trails. Take a nature walk. If there’s some spring in your step, take a little jog – or, I you’re completely uninhibited like me, hear a song in your heart and dance on the beach! I promise that no one is staring at your as much as you think they are!
Create Outside: All it takes it a notebook and crayons – even one little pencil! Check out these seen simple ways to get in touch with your creative side – all of this can be done outside!
Breathe Outside: That’s right. Nature can naturally improve your health. Breathe in Mother Nature, and instantly feel more relaxed and refreshed. You can even think affirmations to yourself as you breathe in and out.
When life is difficult, try to find that one “sunset” to breathe in from that rusty wheelchair. And if you miss it one night, remember the sun will always be up again the next day. For as long as you are living, there will be sunsets and breaths. This fall, try to take in as many as you can.
When you breath in the autumn air, feel that cool crisp breeze rush into your body, think about how that vitality connects you to what and who you love. Think about how many hundreds of alphabets you would need to sum up the glorious gratitude of life. Every day you have the chance to start again.
How can you live your days as if each experience was being felt for the first time?
Make fall your new beginning. Start today.
Find more of these discoveries in “My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful.” Here’s where (see the calendar here) I’ll sharing more excerpts from my book this fall!