Marble mountains of morning mist rising like phantoms from the warm river water blue grey mirrors of the colorful hillsides behind hanging motionless in the much cooler air Another period of miraculous transition lingering warmth of summer days meeting the icy nights of autumn manifesting monuments of change Gentle nudges from mother nature reminders that letting go is something beautiful reassurance that life's long winters are making new space for another spring Each dark night of the soul threatens that the sun will never rise again but new happiness will find you as surely as the earth will keep spinning Fall is a yearly ritual in finding faith bravely embracing a season of snow instilling a confidence that striding through darkness will always lead you back into the light
Fall is a reminder to forgive ourselves for our failures The inevitable plunge after a season of fiery energy the slow decent into old age We cannot always hold ourselves to the standard of our best days the winter will come again And it's okay to rest it's okay to stumble and go backwards There is no shame in still loving yourself after your worst mistakes Don't be afraid to offer yourself the sacred medicine of self-love it's not reserved for perfection alone You won't be spoiled by your own positive regard during the dark night of the soul There is strength to be found in forgiveness there is grace that blooms from the rich soil of having faith in yourself Severity will not serve you rigidity will leave you broken let your inner gaze be soft Gather up the lessons learned and save them for future opportunities life is abundant with second chances
A Soul Submerged
The tide rises with the descending sun and as the leaves form a crunchy crust over the earth that grows thicker with each passing day I watch the waters creep closer pawing at the shoreline of my soul No breakers can withstand the slow advance of the seasons time ensures the slow submersion into the living death of ice and snow I brace myself for another long sleep Water-logged months of darkness slow, undulating rhythm below the waves of winter are hard, helpful reminders of interconnection insolation and artificial lighting cannot replace the outstretched arms of sensual sunshine The earth turns inwards and withdraws a well deserved rest from being taken for granted nursing her wounds beneath the cold surface resting and recharging to return again the faithful promise that keeps me going
The sleepy sun begins to blink after months of brightly beaming suddenly realizing the long, hot days have started to wane once again There is a stirring of pumpkin spice excitement as the air lifts and lightens its humid grip rising early to greet crisp, chilly mornings with socked feet and hot mugs held tightly in cold hands Spiced apple cider and gathering together to face the winter slowly creeping closer crafting grinning pumpkins to keep the growing darkness at bay Learning to allow myself to enjoy this season despite the inevitable mental decline ahead bravely barreling toward the frigid cold while celebrating another successful season in the sun
Cozy Fall Activities – Living Alone Edition
My inner child has been lighting up at the prospect of all the fun fall possibilities this year. I can’t remember a time when I felt this delighted by this season. Maybe it’s just something about being in your late 20s that makes you a sucker for pumpkin spice lattes, scarves, and watching the leaves change. My tendency is usually to dissect and scrutinize such an uncharacteristic feeling. It is quite unlike me to feel like celebrating rather than mourning the end of summer after all. However, this time I’m not going to let myself spoil my own fun by overanalyzing. I just want to be kind and allow myself to fully embrace and enjoy this strange experience. So here are a few of the ideas I’ve come up with about how to do that.
1. Try a Homemade Seasonal Drink
While I do already have my pumpkin spice oat milk creamer in the fridge, I was craving something even more autumn inspired. Even though I’ve only ever had hot apple cider like once in my life, I really loved it. I didn’t really want to buy a whole jug of apple cider for just me though, so I looked online to see if there was some kind of alternative I could try. I stumbled upon this recipe for an apple cider vinegar drink instead. It’s very simple. I already had all the ingredients on hand. And it is quite yummy and hit that hot apple cider spot quite nicely.
2. Movie Night
Even if you live alone like me, there is nothing like snuggling up on the couch to watch a spooky, fall themed movie. Yesterday for the first time in years, I allowed myself to just lie in bed all afternoon and enjoy my day off. It was truly delightful. If you’re looking to get into the fall spirit, I’d definitely recommend making some popcorn (or maybe even roasted pumpkin seeds), grabbing your favorite, most comfortable blanket, perhaps enlisting the company of a furbaby or two, and settling in for a private little movie marathon, the cheesier the better.
3. Take a Walk
Autumn is the ideal season for long, introspective strolls. There is something so indescribably satisfying about hearing the crunchy sound of leaves beneath your feet. While I love the summer heat for walking my dog just as much, it’s even better when there is a crisp wind giving me a reason to quicken my step. Rather than sweating bullets, the soft sun peaking through the trees makes everything glow and gently warms me as I walk. Not to mention there is that perfect cozy feeling when you make it back inside.
I’ve never been big about seasonal decorations. I’ll put up a tree and a few other things for Christmas, but that’s usually it. However, I’ve had the urge to purchase all those cute little fall decorations this year. I’ve even saved a couple of the pattypan squashes I’ve grown that look particularly like mini pumpkins. I can’t help but smile when I see their plump little presence on my kitchen table. Instead of asking myself, “What’s the point?” as I usually do, I’m not going to question my strange desire to spruce up my home with corny little doodads.
As I’ve already mentioned, there is a certain special quality about the fall and winter months that are perfect for solitude and introspection. It even seems like introverts tend to like these colder seasons more for this very reason. Light a candle, make yourself a warm cup of tea, coffee, cider or whatever suits your fancy, and write a few pages in your favorite notebook. Stream of consciousness will work just fine, but you can also look up some fall themed journaling prompts if you want to get extra festive.
I hope you’re all having as scrumptious of a fall infatuation as me this year. Let me know what your favorite ways to enjoy this season are. I’d love to get some new ideas since this is the first year I’ve really felt in the mood to celebrate and go all out.
Slow Fade to Black
Easy breathing, autumn air early mornings turned satisfyingly crisp the sun has softened like sleepy eyelids drooping gently in the pastel sky Time to get cozy and start lighting candles celebrating sumptuous spices and savory foods using up the squashes left over from one last harvest patient preparation of nests for the cold months ahead Another successful cycle completed observing the graceful pirouette of mother earth showering colorful leaves from her folded skirt as she spins new life into old, familiar stories Sit with me awhile and listen to the cicada chorus begin its evening song to signal the bittersweet surrender from summer a goodbye serenade to constant sunshine Learning to enjoy the subtle sadness of certain endings seeing myself in the auburn fade of fallen leaves allowing my own colors to seep out slowly to nourish the dark soil with all that I once was
Have Yourself Some Hygge
I’ve been reading about an interesting part of Danish culture recently known as hygge. (Don’t ask me how to pronounce it. I’ve heard it said a few different ways.) My interpretation of the word based on what information I’ve gathered so far is coziness. Apparently it is a major part of the Danish lifestyle and vocabulary. And given that Danish people are ranked some of the happiest people in the world, I wanted to write a little bit about this concept today.
I find it so interesting that a lot of things that are deemed hygge are the exact same things that have always given me that cozy, safe feeling my whole life. I would love to know why these comforts seem to be able to cross cultural barriers. I’m sure there are some interesting psychological principles behind that. Either way, I plan on making hygge a huge part of this holiday season and the year ahead.
To me hygge seems like the ultimate mindful incorporation of self-love into everyday living. Hygge is all about soft lighting, warm food and drink, quiet corners, soft blankets, comfy clothes, and dear friends. Sounds like Christmas right? Well why not invite that warm feeling each and every day?
I’ve always been obsessed with low, soft lighting. There is just something about string lights and lamps that provide a sense of peace and comfort. Just the image of snuggling up with my pets on the couch, candle burning, book in hand, coffee brewing, makes me feel so happy inside. To me, this is self care. This is self love. And this is the atmosphere I want to give myself in 2021.
But since fall and winter are the most hygge seasons, I’m obviously not going to wait until then to begin. I found a free PDF of The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living if you’re interested in learning more for yourself. It seems like a general introduction to the concept, so I’m eager to find more material on the subject. I hope to find more helpful tips on how to make my home as hygge as possible. As well as maximize my family holiday hygge factor.
One important part of hygge that I worry I’ll struggle with is the social connection. However, I am hoping that my excitement to incorporate hygge into my life will encourage me to create more meaningful social encounters with my close friends and family. A hygge hangout seems like exactly my cup of tea.
Let me know if you have any hygge habits that you can share. I have become ravenously hungry for everything hygge! If any of you are Danish or know about Danish culture, please feel free to explain this concept to me better, as I’m sure there is still a lot I don’t understand about hygge.
Season of Self-Care
I am someone who dearly loves the summertime. I often start to feel the effects of seasonal effective disorder as the days grow shorter and colder. Already I sense the long dark winter looming on the horizon. I feel a desperation begin to settle over me as the green hues of hot summer days give way gracefully to the orange and red undertones of autumn.
This year has me especially worried since I haven’t been doing so well even during the summer months. That’s why I’d like to set some intentions to be gentle with myself as this year of inner and outer turmoil comes to a close. I am always so hard on myself. I never seem to give myself credit for all that I do. I am always focusing on the ways I’m falling short of my own expectations.
Before the lack of sunlight starts to sap all of my energy, fall does seem rather inviting and cozy to me. Cuddling up with my fur children with a cup of hot tea of chilly evenings, making hearty stews, enjoying the return of pumpkin spice everything. It all seems rather nostalgic and comforting. I want the changing of seasons this year to be just another chance for me to practice being grateful for what is in front of me rather than anxious about what I don’t have or have lost.
I have to keep reminding myself that I deserve to rest. I deserve to simply enjoy the stillness between each moment. To savor every sweet breath.
It’s Flu Season (For Non-Vegans)
Around this time of year I always notice those around me beginning to sniffle, cough, and miss work or school. This used to make me quite anxious because I knew that I would soon be next. I can still remember as a child getting sick in a seemingly continuous cycle throughout the year. At the time I viewed this as a normal part of being young. I couldn’t wait for my immune system to finally build defenses against these different illnesses so that I could stop wondering when I would find myself once again writhing in discomfort from another stomach bug or sore throat.
As I got older, I did begin to notice a decrease in the frequency of these illnesses. But still I could have never imagined making it through an entire year or more completely healthy. The worst part was that I didn’t think much of this at all. I thought getting small sicknesses regularly was normal. I didn’t think there was anything to be done about it except to deal with the symptoms when they arose.
Now that I have been vegan for a significant number of years, I’ve begun to notice that I don’t ever really get sick at all. I can’t even recall the last time I had a stomach ache. I used to dread the days I would inevitably spend immobilized in bed, trailing back and forth to the bathroom in an aching delirium. Now it is very rare that I even have to deal with a slight cough. I began a new job over a year ago now and I have yet to take a single sick day. While when I was in school I was guaranteed to miss at least a few weeks each year.
I will never cease to be amazed at the incredible transformation I have experienced in quality of life since transitioning to a vegan diet. It honestly saddens me that so many people will never know just how good it feels to be alive in a fully healthy body. I feel as if I could almost compare it with taking a psychedelic drug. Not in sensation of course, just the sheer wonder of discovering a completely different physical and mental experience that previously you had no idea your body was capable of.
It is becoming more commonly known that a vegan diet can improve longevity and long-term health. The World Health Organization has stated consuming processed meats is just as cancer causing as smoking cigarettes. Yet we continue to permit parents to feed these products to their children, while any parent offering a 5-year-old a cigarette would be considered appalling. Child services would certainly intercede on the child’s behalf in the latter case when really both are the same in effect. Human beings tend to be quite incompetent when it comes to following scientific information to it’s logical conclusion in practical application. We also seem to have a difficult time delaying gratification in order to obtain an ultimately much more gratifying reward in the future.
I wanted to write this post to perhaps help give more people the motivation to try a vegan diet if not for the sake of the animals and our earth, then for their own benefit. If you are young, avoiding heart-disease, diabetes, and cancer most likely isn’t something you are too concerned about at the moment. But the health benefits of eating plant-based, whole foods may be appealing to more people if they knew that there was more to it than that. It is hard to express how different and pleasurable it is to just be in my body now. It almost feels as if the universe has given me a magnificent gift for doing what is right. I hope more than anything that some day we will all live in a vegan world where so much suffering will finally end.
I have often wondered what effect consuming so much pain, fear, and stress hormones has on the body. As far as I am aware there have never been any studies done on something of this nature. It’s important to remember though that the animals most of humanity eats are not healthy. They are sick, tortured, miserable beings, many of whom have never had good food themselves or even felt the sunlight. I truly believe that this must have some consequence and I think that consequence is the way I used to feel and the way so many still do. My friends, I desperately hope that you will feed your body with love and not violence, and receive the rewards the universe has in store for you.
Live fully. Live vegan. ♥