Uma Spender (previously Jessie Neave) - name in transition - new website coming soon!
Hi Yogis, I just love Autumn — I recorded a short & sweet meditation for you HERE to celebrate the recent equinox. Enjoy!
The subject of my writing today is so simple I really hesitated with finishing it, in fact, I even wrote an entirely different piece about Autumn. However, on the road to integrating real life & real spirituality it’s often the simplest realisations that hold the most power, so, I decided to share both. The other piece is now the beginning of my newawakening woman blog — click here for that one. Also, the irony of not finishing a piece that is all about completing stuff was not lost on me, so here it is:
Autumn represents the ‘letting go’ part of our seasonal cycle, and after the fullness, brightness and constant outward flow of energy that is Summercompletes itself, the transition inwards can come as a huge relief — almost like exhaling after holding your breath for some time.
When I did my little equinox ritual I thought a lot about the notion of completion. In my attempts to shape my life within the many cycles inherent to nature I am constantly battling the ‘accepted norm’, and I realised just how much I had missed the boat on this extremely important part of any cycle or pattern, the part where it’s done, complete, and you celebrate — or at least acknowledge what you’ve achieved. The big, and the very little things too. Possibly I had put so much emphasis on the ‘letting go of what is no longer needed’, that I sort of skipped this incredibly important step, for a really, really long time!
And i wonder if you have been skipping it too?
We are so good at rushing through our endless to-do lists, ticking boxes and moving on to the next thing each day can almost feel like a race to the very distant finish…modern life can sometimes feel like trying to fill a cup with a hole in the bottom of it.
I’m a fan of ‘simplicity parenting’; encouraging unstructured play with out super fancy toys or devices of any kind, letting kids imaginations lead their explorations, and, encouraging them to complete the tasks and projects they begin before starting the next one. This can be as simple as eating the entire apple that they began, or putting the finishing touches on the pillow & blanket fort, but extends very much into encouraging them to tell someone all about it after it’s done. I’m sure you have bared witness to the climactic finishing of a block tower or work of art at some point, and stood back for a moment “oohing” and “aahing” while the child basks in the appreciation, soaking up all the lovely completion satisfaction and filling you in on every small detail. Even if their explanations are long and a little exhausting I do my best to be present for this very important moment — and it’s great — it works. I see immediately how pausing what I am doing and really listening to the story of what has happened, or been created, effects my kids. It’s a moment of very deep satisfaction for them, they are not only validated and deeply encouraged, they can also move whole-heartedly on to the next thing.
The world I have been brought up in encourages future goal setting, but does not encourage me to tell someone all about everything that I’ve completed, or achieved at the end of the day, the week, the month or the year. In fact I have noticed that I have resistance to it. It’s as though there is always something bigger to work towards and stopping to look back might be a waste of precious time. The cultural inheritance of ‘tall poppy syndrome’ possibly is at play here too — especially for the larger achievements, but what I’m talking about is acknowledgment of the smaller things that take our time & energy as well as the more obvious things that might deserve glory and praise.
The truth is there will always be more to do, so, I’ve decided to start my very first “completion group”. A few friends who can check in together by email, phone or in person, and tell each other any time at all, without expectation of response, just to say what they have done, no matter how amazing, spectacular, beautiful or silly it might seem. I’ve also decided to try out encouraging the adults around me to tell me their ‘completion’ stories, and to consciously listen with the same admiration and reverence I previously reserved for children — and for the record, I believe that washing, drying, folding and putting away 3 loads of washing (anyone else go camping over Easter?!) deserves just as much space for completion-satisfaction as tasks that may seem more outwardly important.
Hey look — I completed my newsletter!