The summer, while full of little joys, was also challenging.
In my August blog post, I reflected upon the idea of the “instagrammable” summer, versus the real experience of summer– which can often feel like we were failing at sucking out every sunshiny drop of the season.
While this summer had wonderful highs , my Mom was also going through some health challenges and I was short of work, so I had to be creative with how I (literally) spent my summer.
Thanks to the astounding kindness of fellow artists/festival organisers, I was able to hitch a ride with my former boss/mentor for an epic road trip to Pelee Island for the Stone & Sky Festival. We stayed in a magical bed & breakfast on a farm with goats, rescue dogs, cats, chickens, guinea fowl and other unidentified critters.
Some of my Pelee Island joys included making a mandala from driftwood and fallen flowers, talking to fellow artists on a long and scenic ferry ride, partaking in more than my fair share of french fries, falling asleep to the sound of crickets, waking up to a sweet dog scratching at the bedroom door, sipping hot cups of tea and laughing with new friends.
Other joys of the summer included a sunny beach picnic with my partner Shiv, spending an entire stress-free day with my big sister (it’s been a long time) and revisiting childhood haunts like Guild Park and Gardens.
There were challenges too. Difficult conversations about money, making ends meet, finding work, managing the isolation from my community of artists/friends, dealing with feelings of inadequacy, of not being or feeling enough, of trying to stand when I all I really wanted to do was crawl back in bed and wish I was someone else or somewhere else.
As summer neared its end, I was reminded by a dear mentor and fellow artist-educator that the first step of transformation is disorientation. I’m still processing what this means for me and how it manifests in my life and thoughts, but at least I have a compass.
A compass of knowing what I’m not willing to do, who I’m not willing to be, and which values I’m not willing to compromise or sacrifice on this path. I’m learning to embrace the fall. To admit vulnerability, to kick the shit out of “perfection” as a brand, to stay present with the discomfort.
So here we go.
I have always loved this fleeting season, because nature manifests the process of transformation— a reminder to find our footing in uncertainty, to witness the grace of a leaf as it lets go.
As we prepare our hearts and minds (and bodies!) for this shift, I wanted to share a list of prompts that have helped me navigate this time of year.
I hope it helps you too.
- List your summer joys & challenges
- Update your altar/ space to reflect the colours of the season
- Clean your laptop, organise your workspace, sharpen your pencils (if you still use pencils)
- Celebrate the autumnal equinox with a meaningful ritual
- Go for fall walks/hikes
- Re-read your favourite fall-themed book
- Make a list of what you’re ready to let go of and how you intend to lean in to the transience of fall
- Take a road trip to observe the fall colours
- Dig up your favourite fall sweater
- Check in with friends, colleagues and inspiring people you’ve been meaning to reconnect with
If you’re in Toronto, join me for a gentle, reflective autumnal workshop on October 1st.
Deep breath, friends.
It’s time to embrace the fall.