It is the start of another crisp fall day. The birds are chirpping and flying around our backyard as the sun rises and awakens the world to another beautiful day. This week has been so lovely. Crisp cool days and warm cozy nights curled up on the couch with my wife. More than any other season I find that fall lends itself to slowing down to live and think deeply. It is such a rich time of year.
We so seldom slow down long enough to catch our breath most days but something about the cool air and warm fire invite us to rest, to read a good book, to journal and write. Life has such a sweeter rythum to it at times like this. We smile, laugh and enjoy those who mean the most to us.
Why don't we make this the regular pattern of our days? Are we that caught up in doing and having more that we can't find the time to simply be rather than do? Perhaps we do too much. Call it what you want but we must all suffer from a fear of missing out to some degree to neglect that which is so critical to our own mental, physical and relational health.
Something needs to change, and you know it too. We have to build this rythum into all four seasons and not just 30 days in December. So how do we do it? Here are a few steps each of us can take towards living the entire year in the healthy rythums the Fall season often brings:
I don't know about you but saying no hurts. I feel bad about it. It is sometimes the hardest thing for me to say. I want to say yes to everything but in doing so I say no to everything. I can't do it all and you can't either. We both need to grow in our ability to say no. Not so we do nothing but so that we can focus in the truly important things.
Put down the phone.
Fewer things kill conversation and the ability to connect with another person like a phone. It is a constant disctraction we carry around with us everywhere we go. It has been called the new cigarette, and they just might be right. Anytime there is a lull in the conversation or awkward moment when we don't know what do to, we pull out our phones. It has become the socially acceptable thing to do and it is killing our ability to connect with real, live, humans in the same room with us and turning us into weird creatures void of social skills. I know this because I'm addicted to twitter. I follow some great people and love reading what they share and it has killed more than one evening with my wife. Let's partner together and purpose to put down our phones and engage the people around us in conversation.
Pick up a good book.
In reading good books you are reading smart people's thoughts after them. That is to say, you are interacting with the best stuff good minds have to offer. Not only will you learn from the content but it will stimulate your mind in new ways. Deep thinkers read. You can't develop a habit of deep thinking without reading.
Writing helps us process what we learn. Remember in school when your teachers encouraged you to take notes and write things down? That wasn't just because they wanted you to stop disturbing the class, it was because the physical process of writing something down helps write it on your brain. Let's use this to our advantage and write down and process our thoughts and feelings. I have been working to develop this habit for a little over a month now and have found it to be immensly valuable. For more on my journey with journaling click here and here.
Get out of town.
Many times the holiday season affords us the opportunity to travel. So many of our favorite memories are a direct result of holiday travel. Good things happen when we physically pull away from our normal rythums and surroundings. Make it your habit to at the very least withdraw on a quarterly basis. Go camping or hiking. Do something that gets you out of your normal rut and allows you time to think, reflect and enjoy life. Do this just once and you'll understand why withdrawing on a regular basis is good for the soul.
Gather around the table.
Few things are as relaxing and enjoyable as a sit down meal with those you love and value most. The conversation and laughter are food for the soul. We do this with great regularity durring the holiday season. Why not continue this habit all year long? Call up your friends and loved ones and gather around the table. Take it slow, enjoy the meal and laugh often.
Many of these activities have one thing in common, the practice of unplugging from the world out there in order to focus on true, deep, meaningful connections. Wether that connection is with a good book or those you love its too important to relegate to 30 days in the Fall. Join me in not allowing all the good and positive aspects of this time of year to remain trapped in one page of the calander. Let's develop these habits and enjoy life.