Just as trees pull their energy inward, the leaves change colour and are released to make their bed on the forest floor, so can you call your energy back in and let go of things in your life you don't need to carry forward.
I have written about the some of the techniques you can use make more space in your life physically, mentally and emotionally, in both of my books but today I want to share a simple yet powerful practice that can help you get into the frame of mind to sort through the clutter at any level.
This is a type of walking meditation that I have used since I was in my early teens. At that time I was just embarking on the spiritual path and while the road has taken many twists and turns throughout the years, I love coming back to the basics at this time of year with a simple autumn walk.
Before you venture out on this walking meditation you will want to consider:
- the temperature and forecast (its hard to focus if you are too hot, cold or being rained on)
- bringing a friend that is happy to walk in silence (safety first, find a spiritual buddy who won't mind a quiet walk for at least some portion of time)
- easy terrain (the point of this exercise isn't to get a cardio workout in, pick a well worn path that isn't going to push you)
- putting your phone away (you may need to keep it with you, but remember this isn't a chance to do a forest photo session for your Instagram feed, treat this walk with the same respect you would a seated meditation
1. Stand on the path and close your eyes. Take 3 deep breaths. Imagine dropping off any of your problems, concerns and "to-dos" in a bundle at the start of the path. It doesn't mean you can't pick them up later, but it does mean that you give your full attention to the path in front of you.
2. Start walking and notice what is happening around you with all available senses. Notice the smells, sights and sounds surrounding you. Notice how alive nature is around you.
3. At some point it may strike you to stop for a moment to feel or hear the breeze or watch a small animal collecting rations for the winter ahead. Give yourself the space to indulge and be present for those moments rather than have to "get somewhere".
4. When you find your mind wandering back to your bundle of concerns and "to-do's" don't chastise yourself for it. Trust that by spending some time unplugged in the heart of nature, on the path you will return better equipped to deal with that bundle.
5. When you finish your walk decide what part of that bundle (if any) needs to come home with you. If you like to journal, take a few moments to write any insights or ideas you had while on your walk.
BONUS: If you are actively working on letting go of what you don't need in your life, give yourself an hour when you are finished to focus on one area of your mental or physical space. De-clutter a closet, clean up your inbox, reassess a project you are working on. If this walk helped you hit the reset button, use that clarity and energy to make room in your life.
There are many types of walking meditation, some much more sophisticated and complex than the Autumn-inspired awareness walk I have described. However, when it comes to the Art of Letting Go (a wisdom teaching of the Metal/ Fall element) simple is best and from my personal experience, this practice has something to offer each and every time I do it especially when I couple the practice with a session of de-cluttering.
Give it a try and share what happened for you in the comments below.