For many, this time of year is a welcome reprieve from the long “dog days of summer.” As the temperatures begin to drop, along with the leaves of the trees, change is in the air. Pots filled with flowers and the gardens we’ve planted have grown, bloomed, bore fruit, and now begin to wither. At first frost, the landscape will change once again.
The season of death is fast approaching.
In our culture, we tend to shy away from the topic of death. Yet, the season of Autumn is a reminder of our own seasons and the seasons of our loved ones. In Celtic traditions, the Feast of the Dead, known to us today as Halloween, was a time to honor our ancestors. It is also a gentle reminder that one day we will join our beloved on the other side of the veil. The place of The Great Mystery.
There are many religious and spiritual traditions that speak about death and the afterlife. Often, these messages are to comfort our fears regarding our own death or those who we have loved and lost. I have come to believe that acknowledging death and remembering our lives are finite is an utterly amazing gift. In 2009, I came across this quote by Rabbi Rami Shapiro which I keep on the nightstand by my bed:
“There is no security, surety, or safety. There is just the wildness of life lived in the shadow of death.”
As you read these words by Rabbi Shapiro, what bubbles up for you in your heart and mind? Does it inspire you to live your life to its fullest and/or wildest? To go after your dreams and desires? To create moments for the possibility of Awe to enter your life more freely?
Do you gain a unique perspective regarding any difficulties you may be experiencing at this time? How might your outlook change knowing everything is truly temporary? And what if your life is all there is? Nothing beyond death. How would you live the remaining days of your life?
These are deep, soul-level questions which the season of Autumn asks us to consider. If we ignore the wisdom of this season, we will not be ready to begin dreaming about the greatest possibilities of our fully lived lives.