Autumn falls across my shoulders, wrapping my body up in her golden embrace. The air is cooler, fresher and more demanding of me. The leaves fall from the trees as if they are in love with the earth, nestling once more into her soft and expansive landscape.
I take a breath and look around me as summer’s dreams seem so far away. Autumn is here and she brings her own beauty, magic and wonder with her as she sweeps across the land.
Autumn is a beautiful time to slow down and reconnect with all of who you are. This is a time for letting go of what no longer serves or supports you. It is time to harvest our memories of summer and take stock of where we have been and what we desire next in our life.
One way to honour the change of the seasons and the magic of Autumn is to create small gorgeous rituals of self-love.
As you open your eyes in the morning, take a few moments to stretch into your body. Lengthen your legs and stretch right down into your toes. Allow your arms to gently rise above your head and roll your pelvis up and forward, awakening your spine softly. Let your first words and thoughts be “Thank you.”
Send gratitude to your body for keeping you safe through the night. Say thank you to your bed for supporting you, your room for protecting you and for another day in your life. And as you move to get out of bed, as you put your feet on the floor say quietly to yourself, “May I walk with joy, ease and kindness through my day.”
As a body confidence and age empowerment coach, I am aware of how our minds love images. And, when you link an object or an image with an intention, it can be a positive and powerful reminder of what really matters to you. With this in mind, it is a beautiful idea to create your own autumnal altar of the things that bring you pleasure and connect you with the energy of Autumn.
An altar doesn’t need to be anything elaborate. Just a small space where you can visit every day and that contains objects that remind you of your intentions. This might be a little nook in your home, a windowsill, a table or even an outside shelter where you can sit and spend some time.
It is time to harvest your desires, learning and experiences of the summer that has passed and let go of what is no longer needed. Preparing your altar can be wonderfully creative. You can make yours as minimal or as big as your heart desires.
A lovely way to start creating your altar is to choose objects that represent how you desire to feel and what you intend to bring into your life. For example, if you have a dream of writing a book, you may want to put a pen on your altar. If you desire to feel freer, you may want to put a pebble or seashell from the beach on your altar, or whatever makes you feel free. The choice is yours.
Some other examples of what you might want to choose for your altar are: fresh or dried flowers, candles, pinecones or anything from nature, a favourite photograph or picture, a beautiful quote or word written down, an ornament that you love, crystals, a beloved book, incense etc.
The magic of the autumnal altar is actually in using it. Choose to spend a little time every day sitting by your altar. You might want to play some music, light your candle, sing your favourite songs or read your favourite poems. Or perhaps you have an Oracle or card deck that you love and you might use this time to choose a card and reflect on its meaning.
This is time for you. It is a sacred space where you can reconnect with your dreams, your feelings, your body and your soul. Enjoy every moment.
One of my favourite rituals is to create a self-love jar. This is a lovely activity to do for yourself or even with a grandchild. All you need is a jar of your choosing, paper, a pen and a pair of scissors to cut the paper into strips.
A fun thing to do is to take a piece (or many pieces) of paper and cut it into strips. Using coloured paper gives a lovely festive feel. On each strip, write down as many loving, kind and compassionate affirmations about yourself that you can think of. Be creative and allow yourself to write down the words that you would most love to hear or receive.
Write them as if someone else is saying them to you, for example, You are so lovely, You are valued and needed, You light up the world with your smile, You are extraordinary, You are kindness itself, You have everything you need, You are growing more beautiful every day, etc.
It has been shown to have a positive reinforcing effect when we say positive things to ourselves starting with the pronoun “you.” For some people it can feel more powerful than when we use affirmations beginning with the pronoun “I.” Go with what you feel.
Once you have written your affirmations, gather a little jar and place all of the affirmations in the jar. You may want to paint the jar or decorate it with beads, coloured fabrics, or stencils to make it your own. You could place crystals inside the jar or pebbles you have collected from a beach. The key is to make it special and appealing for you.
Once you have placed all of your affirmations inside of the jar, seal it with a lid or cover it with fabric and a tie around the top. Say out loud to yourself, “May all of these words become gifts for me every day of my life.”
Place the jar in a safe place, and, on New Year’s Day, give yourself the most fabulous present of reading your own words as you open the jar and take out your affirmations. What a lovely way to begin the New Year!
Hygge is a word in Danish and Norwegian that describes a cozy and contented mood evoked by comfort and conviviality. This concept has been embraced by many cultures around the world, especially as a nurturing alternative to the stresses of today’s fast paced lifestyle. It involves creating a comforting and loving space in which you can rest, relax and feel safe.
Autumn is a lovely time to gather ourselves, slow down and engage in loving rituals of comfort and joy. For example, it may mean that you wrap yourself up in a warm blanket, with your favourite book, a cup of hot chocolate or your favourite beverage and spend an afternoon or evening reading.
Or, perhaps, it is going for an Autumnal walk and coming home to sit by a fire. If you haven’t got a fireplace, then a lovely alternative is to light some candles and bathe in their glow. The key is that you make a conscious choice to do things which will show yourself how much you love and care about you.
You might cook an extra special meal and enjoy it with friends and loved ones, or maybe it’s alone time that you crave, and you give yourself space to fully relax in comfy clothes, doing what you love.
For those of you who love all things crystal, a beautiful self-love ritual is to gather several rose quartz crystals and place them in different areas of your home. Choose the spaces where you spend most of your time.
Rose quartz represents love in all of its forms. It is connected with the heart chakra and the qualities associated with the heart such as kindness, compassion, trust, hope, faith and a strong loving courageous sense of self.
Place rose quartz in those areas where you spend time: your bedroom, kitchen, living room, outside in the garden, by your computer or even in your purse. Every time that you see the rose quartz crystal use it as a reminder to connect with your own heart.
Touch, or hold the crystal in one hand and place the other over your heart, close your eyes, breathe deeply and remind yourself of how loved you are. Say quietly in your mind:
“May I receive love,
May I give love,
May I be love.”
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What are your own favourite Autumn rituals? What do you love most about the Autumn months?