Change is in the air …

Hello, it’s Jayne!

Have you noticed that there’s definitely an autumnal ‘nip’ in the early morning air now?  There is change in the air – quite literally …

I’m fortunate to spend quite a bit of time outdoors in nature so I’m really noticing the transition from summer to autumn, which I find very awe-inspiring.

Leaves are falling softly, like confetti, in the gentle breeze and their colours are just starting to change. There’s an abundance of dainty, lace-like cobwebs nestling in the hedges and grass – and a delicious cider-like aroma of fallen apples from the nearby orchards. The crops in the fields have been harvested and the hedgerows are bursting with an abundance of sloes, damsons, rosehips and elderberries.  Even in my own garden, the blackberries are ready for picking (and for making blackberry gin!) and my nettle patch is thriving – so I’ve been drinking a lot of blackberry and nettle tea lately! I’ve also noticed the annual ‘invasion’ of large ginger slugs – which turns the mundane task of hanging my washing out on the line into a merry little dance, as I’m being oh so careful not to stand on them!

This beautiful transition of summer into autumn is marked by the autumn equinox, which is on Monday 23rd September this year. Also known as Mabon, it marks the point of balance between light and dark – night and day are of equal length and there is perfect equilibrium. We are transitioning into the time when days become shorter and nights become longer. Nature knows this. Days are becoming shorter and cooler, signalling tree sap to return back to the roots deep in the earth. Leaves are turning into the stunning red and gold palette of autumn before they give themselves up to winter … it is all part of the natural cycle of life.

But are WE ready for this transition? The summer holidays are over. Children are back to school, older ones are about to return to Uni. But it seems that many people are resisting this seasonal change – defiantly wearing shorts and flip-flops, despite the autumn ‘nip’! And so many people are choosing not to embrace autumn, as it heralds the arrival of winter which they say they dread.

Isn’t this interesting? We know that we can’t change the arrival of autumn. It happens every year, as does winter – then Spring is just around the corner. Yet many of us still resist it strongly – even though, as Heraclitus says, “there is nothing permanent except change”.

Resistance – to the arrival of autumn or anything else in life – triggers our stress reaction. So when we strive against anything in life, we create additional stress which actually makes things even harder for ourselves. And when we are experiencing stress, we may find it difficult to relax – which can also impact our sleep quality and duration.

If any of this resonates for you, why not come and join us at our Relax and Sleep Well … Naturally event? It would be lovely to see you there.

Conversely, when we come to a place of simply accepting what is here – even if we don’t particularly LIKE what’s here! – it enables us to let go of this striving and find peace, stillness and clarity. Cultivating an attitude of acceptance is a core theme in our Be Naturally Live Well with Mindfulness 8 week courses – dates for our next course will be announced soon.

So – coming back to autumn … for me, I not only accept its arrival, I am positively nourished by it! How about you?  It would be lovely to hear how you experience it.

And if you would like to be physically nourished by autumn, then try this delicious recipe from a dear friend and Be … Naturally retreat participant, Jan. Enjoy!

Jan’s Plum Cake recipe

Ingredients:
• 150g caster sugar
• 115g butter
• 140g plain flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 eggs
• 1 pinch salt
• 12 plums, pitted and halved
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1-2 tablespoons caster sugar, for sprinkling

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4.
2. Beat sugar and butter until fluffy with an electric mixer.
3. Mix flour and baking powder and sift into creamed mixture.
4. Beat in eggs and salt. Mix everything well.
5. Pour batter into a greased 26cm round spring form tin and smooth out.
6. Top with the plums (cut side up) and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon.
7. Bake in preheated oven on lowest shelf for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
8. Cool to room temperature or serve warm.