Surrendering to the Winds of Change
It was hanging on for dear life, afraid to let go and move on to new surroundings. At least that was my perception of this withered, brown maple leaf, the sole survivor of a blustery winter along the lakeshore. The tree was completely bare, all its previous tenants having moved on to better terrain, except for this one anxious resident. Just watching it twist and turn with the wind, made me grin at its tenacity to not let go.
I think that is what I love most about fall - watching the leaves as they determine how long they'll cling. I find myself attributing human qualities to them and ponder what their current condition of acceptance or angst is, what their level of fear or courage might be as they are asked by Mother Nature to move on to the next stage of their lives. It may sound silly, but I find great inspiration for my life journey by watching the leaves.
Leaves, I contend, are a lot like people. We come into the world inexperienced and green. We grow into our fullness by being buffeted about by the gusts of life. We depart when the time is right and we've learned all we needed to learn. I refer not only to the human life cycle, from birth to death, but a series of small deaths and rebirths each of us is asked to experience again and again, as life's twists and turns come our way. Watching the leaves reminds me that we are continually being asked to flow with the rhythm of life, to let go, and move on. We are called to change, to relinquish what we know as sure and safe to experience the unknown future. Most leaves seem to do this quite easily. It is simply part of being a leaf. It is also part of being a human being, but most of us don't "go with the flow" as the leaves do, trusting we are being taken to the next best place in our lives. Most of us act like this little survivor leaf I'm watching through my living room window today, we hang on with all our might and refuse to surrender to the winds of change.
I imagine that when a leaf receives the call from Mother Nature that it's time to let go, it ponders a bit, but it does not become paralyzed in fear. It might ask: Do I let go now or later? Do I let go with ease and flow with the winds of change that are coming? Where will I go and what will I become? Within its beautiful life cycle, each leaf will be reborn into a new version of itself. Some will become a forest floor, some will provide fodder for birds' nests, some will become compost for a garden. Each outcome is laden with its own profound purpose. The leaf does not die; it simply changes form. And somehow it knows this, except, perhaps that one small maple leaf who did not want to let go. Maybe it had no faith...
As fall beckons and the leaves in your neck of the woods come ablaze with color, observe the well-timed beauty of their letting go, and think about yours. As they submit to the winds of change, knowing not where they will land, witness the trust they demonstrate in surrendering to their ultimate destiny, and ponder yours. May the leaves, and the dignity with which they embrace transformation, provide a model of courage to emulate as life calls you to change, wherever that may lead.
Jan Deremo Lundy is the co-founder and Contributing Editor of Healing Garden Journal. She is also an inspirational speaker, Interfaith SpiritualDirector, author of Coming Home to Ourselves: A Woman's Journey to Wholenessand Awakening the Spirit Within, and co-author of Perfect Love: How to FindYours and Make It Last Forever. Visit her website, www.awakenedliving.com, to learn more or call (800) 831-3230