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Autumn: A time to slow down

Autumn is finally here! Strictly speaking, it began September 21, but September often teases us (especially here in California) with balmy Indian summers that often extend into the early days of October. There is something particularly captivating about the season of Autumn; it evokes a mixture of nostalgia and cheery anticipation of cozily hunkering down for the months ahead. We heartily welcome the sweater weather, pumpkin themed food and drinks, and everything hygge and fall themed, but what is it exactly about Autumn that summons such a warm welcome? We countdown the days until Summer, but as Summer draws to a close we are happy to move on to the comfortable structure that returns with Autumn. Summer subconsciously pressures us to engage in all the activities and social events but when chilly nights arrive and it is time to resume old routines we eagerly accept the invitation and exhale. Perhaps our souls secretly long for an outward sign to give us permission to slow down and embrace simplicity. There is nothing flashy about Autumn, leaves and plants are dying as they prepare for the dormant months ahead, yet it is a season we anticipate as that of an upcoming holiday. Could it be that the stark simplicity that comes with this time of year is something that we intuitively yearn for? There is something about change that inspires us to begin a new ritual or recommit ourselves to an old one and the change of seasons is as good of a time as any to devote ourselves to a rhythm that nourishes the soul. Autumn is gentle in reminding us to take a deep breath as we adapt to new regimens. Autumn doesn't arrive overnight, rather it comes softly, acting moody and cool one day then sunny and balmy the next, and day by day easing us into more consistently crisp autumn weather. We are often very hard on ourselves but as created beings we are wise to look to the natural world to observe that we were designed to adapt new regimens through more gentle methods by steadily ascending the path before us instead of forcing it to happen overnight.

The stillness of autumn beacons us to search for the inner stillness in our souls. It's a good time of year to commit to starting each day a little earlier in order to carve out intentional time at the beginning of each day. A good morning ritual can transform your day in a very powerful way, it sets the course each day for living a purpose filled life by looking to and living for something eternal and beyond ourselves, in the words of our patron Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, "To live without faith, that is not living; but existing." The elements of a good morning ritual are simple; soft lighting, a cozy blanket or robe, books or meditations that truly nourish the soul, and of course, a good hot cup of coffee.

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