~ J.V. Manning
A soft breeze stirred up, bringing that undeniable crisp smell of fall and the colorful leaves started to flutter. All of a sudden the quiet was broken by the sound of falling leaves and the crunching of a passing squirrel on the forest floor. I sat there mesmerized, watching the wind gently shake the leaves free from the trees and float them gently to the ground. Aside from the squirrel and myself, there was no one to see the tree shed parts of itself it no longer needed. It knew that the leaves had served their purpose and now in a beautiful, colorful finale, allowed them to drop from its branches, leaving them bare in their wake.
The bright and stunning colors are autumn’s way of showing us that change can be beautiful.
My eyes followed a leaf as it floated to the ground, landing softly on the vibrant pile surrounding the base of the trunk and my mind wandered to all I have shed over the past few years. I’ve exuviated so many things that no longer serve my soul and how beautiful, if not incredibly exhausting, the journey had been.
So much of that journey, no one knows about. No one knows how much I have lost, how much healing and strength it has taken; no one knows how brave I have been and how incredibly lonely it was. No one knows how much I have released and how I have had to cauterize more soul wounds than I even thought possible. No one knows how very much I wanted to quit at times. No one really can appreciate how much I have confronted, made peace with and healed from. We all have our private, inner journeys that no other soul, however close, can be a part of. Until it’s over and we are stronger and more confident; willing to use our journey to help others along on theirs and we become brave enough to speak our truths, the inner work remains unseen by those around us.
With each leaf that fell, I attached something I had released.
Either you change in life or you don’t. You can cling to what no longer serves you because it’s known, or you can shed the old ways to make room for new growth. Some changes do not require anything more than us consciously deciding to let go of something. Then there are deep, penetrating soul wounds that we must address. We cauterize the wounds with knowledge and lessons learned and we pull in on ourselves to heal. The brave ones will bloom again when they are ready, just at the trees that make it through the winter do in the spring.
At that moment, sitting there watching the leaves fall away, I realized how very much my life resembled the cycle of trees. They find their strength, not in the bright summer months when water and the sunshine are plenty but within the dark, cold winter months after shedding all the armor of the leaves, down to the very bare essence of themselves. Our real work is done in the dark, lonely moments when we pull in on ourselves to face the monsters of experience, standing bravely within our own inner light to do the work needed to heal and move on. When we strip ourselves down to our very essence to rebuild our lives again whole and complete, releasing all that no longer serves our happiness we find our spring. Our time of new growth.
Do not fear the darkness, embrace your light. Release what no longer serves your life, release all that has wounded your soul. Change is beautiful. Emerge when you are ready to bloom again. For with each kernel of truth you embrace, you plant a seed of healing. Eventually, all will come together and the seeds of change will bloom vibrantly from within.