It’s not autumn yet, but the signs are approaching: some leaves are beginning to turn, the days are getting noticeably shorter, and for some of us, the sheer joy of aimless hot summer days is cloying. Last week marked one of the cross-quarter days on the Celtic calendar—Lammas or Lughnasa, the feast of the wheat harvest. It seems to me that as our climate is changing, these cross-quarter days may be a more certain demarcation of the change in seasons than the “official” solstices and equinoxes.
So, as the unofficial harbinger of fall, Lughnasa (named for the Celtic god Lugh) marks a time to begin reflecting on what is important in life. As we head toward winter, what do we want to keep, and what can we safely give away? This can be anything from goods to commitments to friends.
Another thing to look at: what have we accomplished so far this year, and what do we most want to accomplish in the time that’s left before the year turns?
Right now I’m reading a book a friend recommended to me a couple of years ago, but the time wasn’t right until now. Soulcraft by Bill Plotkin, PhD., is about the personal journey to connect with our true nature, in all its messy humanness. Virtually every page has food for thought, but this passage (pp. 40-41) really struck me. He begins with a quote that has been attributed to many people including Anonymous:
A task without a vision is just a job.
“It is this sacred work, this ‘vision with a task,’ that we seek, individually and collectively. The rarity of finding sacred work is at the root of our Western [culture’s] despair and sorrow. When not acknowledged and embraced, our grief is acted out through violence against ourselves (e.g., addictions, suicide, masochism), each other (e.g., sadism, racism, sexism, war, child abuse, ethnic cleansing), and the environment (e.g., toxic waste, resource depletion, species extinction, forest destruction, environmental degradation). Unacknowledged grief also manifests as depression, anxiety, and a growing sense of meaninglessness.
“By consciously honoring our grief—the absence of vision and sacred work—we take our first steps toward soul discovery and personal fulfillment. We begin the return to our true nature.”
I encourage you to take time to honor your own sense of grief. Go alone for a walk in the country or in the woods, breathe deeply, and listen—really listen—to the sounds of nature all around you. If it’s possible, don’t think. Let thoughts come to you, and let them go. Cry if you can, shout if you want to, sing if you feel like it.
If you’re so moved, come home from your walk and write down your impressions. This is when Spirit begins to talk to you.
One of the best ways to tap into the unexpressed grief we all hold inside is through energy work. Qi Gong, Yoga and the like help move the stuck energy inside while calming the mind. Alternative therapies like chiropractic, massage, reiki and reflexology also move energy and help restore balance to body, mind and spirit. I encourage you to take care of yourself regularly. There is so much around us (and within us) to keep us out of balance.
Christin Whittington is a practitioner of energy medicine – helping people restore balance in their bodies, their health and their lives using a combination of Reiki, Reflexology, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Qi Gong and herbal medicine.