Fall is by far, my most creative and productive time of year. Ideas that have been percolating all summer long now come to a full boil – and I’m ready to get moving.
Except moving on them actually means sitting down to focus.
Honestly, that can be a challenge for me much of the year, but perhaps especially now. Change in the air and my creative juices are flowing. It’s exciting. You see, I’m a bit of what Ayurveda would call, a vata type – and autumn is vata season.
What is Vata Dosha?
Vata means to move like the wind and is governed by the elements of ether and air. Vata is cold, dry, light, and moving – like fall. If vata is your primary type dosha, you are someone who (when balanced) thrives on movement including change and variety. Your creativity and enthusiasm shines bright with an optimism that keeps you floating on air.
So it might seem that Autumn truly is YOUR time of year, right? Except there IS such a thing as too much of a good thing. So while vatas can keep their cool in summer, the bustling winds of fall can easily blow those ideas into a whirlwind of their own.
That’s when change becomes erratic, enthusiasm turns to anxiety, and all that creativity is scattered like the leaves.
Of course, you don’t have to be a vata type to experience this kind of chaos – at the same time, anyone can take advantage of this exuberant and creative time of year. If we just remember to do one thing: Stay grounded!
We Have to Root To Rise
For creativity to bloom, it has to have roots. This is how we stay in harmony with nature – by keeping the balance between what’s outside and in.
So as vata’s winds begin to blow, it’s important we remain stable and steady, lest we get swept away by the change without ever enjoying it.
For example, last fall I scheduled a whole lot of travel and not enough time at home. That’s why the third Ashtanga Dispatch magazine wasn’t finished on time. My head was too far in the clouds, both literally and figuratively, at once. In other words, I spaced out.
But I learned a good lesson. And this year, we have some big news (almost) ready to announce. In fact, these beginnig Autumn months will likely be my most productive ever.
Because this time, I kept my feet on the ground with these 7 practices – guided by nature and rooted in good ol’ fashioned common sense!
1. A Routine
I’ll be honest, I try to make the most of summer’s longer hours of daylight – so I am more likely to stay up late and eat on the run. But once fall comes, that changes.
I wake up at 4:50 am, have my tea, bathe, and am on my mat practicing by 6:30 am. Dinner is at 5:30 pm and I’m in bed by 9:00 pm. Yes, I am that predictable. But to keep so much seasonal and internal movement from becoming erratic, we need a sturdy container. A consistent routine is your container.
2. Early Morning Meditation
Also in those early morning hours, I sit. It’s the quietest, darkest time of my day, awake. Ideas this time of year are flowing like the wind – but lest I get too carried away and distracted, I need time to root in silence, to settle, and to breathe deep and slow. I’ve tried other times of the day, but none work as well as morning.
3. Warm Beverages
There are three non-caffeinated teas I couldn’t live without: the Big Sky blend I drink before bed, the CCF tea I drink after meals, and now this Turmeric-Ginger tea Meghan just discovered from the Minimalist Baker. Right now, it’s my favorite.
- 1 tbsp freshly grated turmeric
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 3 cups water
- Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a simmer (not a boil) over medium heat – then turn off heat.
- Strain as you pour. Makes two mugs.
The pen is mightier than the computer. Sorry, but it’s really no contest. Just like my real friends are the ones who visit, call, or write real letters. Texts don’t count and Facebook isn’t even in the ball field. You see, the act of putting pencil to paper takes effort and makes us slow down and focus.
But important for this time of year, journaling takes ideas and thoughts out of space and makes them tangible.
Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory. (Jack London)
I keep three journals at once. One is personal, for ideas, dreams, and thoughts; one for notes from books and podcasts; and one is for my daily to-do list. Yeah, I do even sleep with them. And no, my husband doesn’t mind.
5. Self Massage
Thanks to fall’s extra-dry and chilly air here in Montana, I feel like my skin is shriveling up and wrinkling away. Not to mention, my joints crackle and my hair splits at the ends. But not nearly as much if I give myself regular oil massages. For this, I use warm almond oil with a few drops of rosemary, clary sage, and lavender essential oils – and rub in a rhythmic fashion all over my body, giving more focused love to my joints, feet, and the scar from my c-sections.
Self massage is warm, loving, and nourishing. It feels good. And you are worth it.
6. Seasonal Foods
Around here, it’s oatmeal every morning. We are also cooking up the last of our root vegetables like beets and carrots. Plus lots of sweet potato, pumpkin, and squash, made into soups and curries. Oh no baked apples with cinnamon and honey for dessert. Knowing what foods to prepare can be as simple as looking around to see what’s naturally being harvested as well as listening to your own body and cravings.
For those of you who don’t live in a more rural area (or even if you do!) try joining a Community Supported Agricultural Program (CSA) where you can get local, chemical-free produce either delivered or available for pick up each week. We join one every winter and spring.
7. Walk or Hike
Still feeling that itch to get moving? Do it! Now is a great time to get outside and feel the connection of your feet to the earth. Soak up the colors … enjoy the crisp, clean air … and take advantage fall’s bright, clear days.
Bottom line, all of this stuff is really rather intuitive.Take advantage of what nature has made bountiful by way of resources and food but also, take special care of you by keeping that healthy balance. If there’s a chill in the air, bring in heat. If it’s too dry, find moisture. Feeling spacey and scattered? Build that container and get grounded.
Listen, change is already in the air. What is able to grow from here – that’s up to you.
For more seasonal reminders and practice tips, sign up for the Wednesday Dispatch: