Reaping your Harvest
Tonight is the Harvest Moon, and it's going to beautiful! The first full moon of Autumn, the Harvest Moon, traditionally signifies reaping the rewards from all the seeds that were sown in Spring and Summer. This can be a bountiful time, but it's also a time when we look at what we've harvested and see what we do or do not to plant again. It's the perfect time to express gratitude for the successes you've had and the help you've gotten along the way, and also to evaluate and reflect on our failures so that we can turn them into lessons. It's also a time to begin planning for our next growing season. Once all the ripe fruits and vegetables are picked and sorted, each of us is left with an empty, clear space to project our dreams for our new garden onto. Lately, I've been seeing in my own life that authenticity has been missing. When I look at my harvest for this year, I see a lot to be proud of, and also a lot more that I could have done. When I look at my empty garden, the image in my mind that I project onto the soil is much different than garden that I've grown this passed year. For example, I'm proud that I opened my shop and of the run I had writing my wild edibles blog posts earlier this year. I'm proud that I took up exercising with my children, and that I've been able to maintain their bedtime routines of songs, bedtime stories, and prayers every night. I'm proud of the areas of my life where I see evidence that I took initiative in determining my life's direction, and I feel joy when I am my true self with the people I love (especially the little people). But I would be more proud if more of my actions throughout the year came from a place of personal integrity. For example, if I had been sharing my thoughts frequently throughout the year, using my blog to open up conversation instead of simply sharing facts. When I imagine next year's harvest, I'd like it to filled with the fruits of my labor, and for those fruits to come from sharing my thinking with others about cultivating virtue. I believe in living with integrity, courage, compassion, generosity, and reverence. The only way to "walk your talk", however, is by talking about your walk! I have to walk these things I believe in, in order to share them with you. I believe this is true for everyone.
Now, this is where the really important stuff comes in. After a harvest, the work isn't yet done. Before we get to enjoy feasting on Summer's fruits, we have to prepare our empty fields for the seeds we'll plant in Spring. In the garden, this looks like removing the last of the weeds and clearing out the dead vines and brush, planting cover crops to nourish the soil, pruning back the plants you expect to remain in your garden and bloom again, and preparing your soil for spring. What are the weeds in your garden? What "rotten" debris is in your life that needs to get taken out to make room for the things you want to grow? Fears, bad habits, time-wasters, toxic relationships... All these things take energy and "nutrients" from the soil of your life that could be better used growing a bigger, better bounty. I'm personally going to focus my energy into the people in my life who want me to succeed, because those are the people who I will want to share my bounty and my joy with when I reach my goals. I'm going to cut time-wasters from my life so that I can focus my energy into the things I'd really like to be cultivating. What last seeds need planting in order to prepare for new, big crops? What little things can you do to rejuvenate and re-energize? Creating/adjusting your budget is a great way to make sure you set aside the money you need to do the things you most want to do after prioritizing meeting your needs. Taking stock of your physical health and making small adjustments to your diet or exercise routine plants the seeds of better health for the next year, and while it might be a difficult time to start dieting with the holidays coming up, nurturing yourself by developing good habits beforehand is a good way to manage your impulses when surrounded by sweets! What are your "perennials"? What or whom is in your life that you expect to stay with you through the year? It's a good time to determine what hasn't worked well for the growth of their relationship to you so you can make more room for the things that give your relationship strength. Do you work so hard at your career that you experience burnout? Maybe you need to cut away some workaholism and give yourself some time to rest so you can find joy in your work again. Are there unhealthy routines that you and your partner get into, and which make your relationship stale? You can discuss those things with your partner and find some ways to freshen up your relationship to prepare for new growth. And lastly, prepare your soil! Remind yourself each day who you are. In the words of Margaret Thatcher, "Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny!" For me, this is looking like signing up for a fitness program so I can feel energetic and strong again; getting my ordination through the Universal Life Church so I can start being a part of my community as someone who can celebrate the cycles of life with the people around me; and preparing to change what I communicate in my blog. Whatever it takes for you to internalize who you are- affirmations, getting that certification, getting your body healthy -do it. Prepare your soil by laying the groundwork for who you want to become, and with that one step, you'll already be growing into that best version of you. Happy Autumn, everyone! And enjoy the beauty of the Harvest Moon. Please feel free to share your thoughts and your goals in the comments section below.