Autumn’s Equinox can be a challenge. It’s a time of rush and regret. There’s the looking back, as a friend sighed to me, “I just don’t feel like I had a real summer.” And there’s the pull forward: launching the cycle of the school year or programming year with a noisy flash of paper, clatter of keyboard, and clutter of meetings.
The Autumnal Equinox falls on September 20 – 22 (depending on how the earth is traveling that year), It’s a day of equal light and dark all over the earth. From Latin, equi – nox literally translates as equal dark.
So we’re too busy to stop and celebrate balance. Huh.
It’s the earth holiday I’m most likely to take a pass on. Partly, I feel I’m too busy to do it properly. Partly, the leaves have barely begun to turn. I’m just not in the “autumn mood” until the trees are scarlet and golden burning bushes. Equinox is just the beginning of the tip, a subtle shift between summer and fall.
This year I paused at that tipping moment to recognize balance.
It was a simple observation, stolen from James’ yoga routine.
- Select a song or a short piece of text that reminds me about balance. (James usually sings John Denver’s Sweet Surrender. I find it endearing he sings that song. Plus, it IS a song well-worth recovering.)
- Stand on one foot and recite or sing it.
- Then stand on the other and repeat.
- I added a variation of balancing on one foot and one hand. ‘Cause my upper body seemed to want in on the action.
Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t maintain balance alone. But the simple exercise put a smile on my face and reminded me to cultivate equanimity in the inevitable imbalance of daily life.
Here’s another angle: in church, Peter, one of our pastors, handed out stones to every one in the congregation. Through the service, he invited us to imagine the stones we carry in our pockets, ready to throw at others. What are the resentments, the angers, the frustrations we carry? What would it be like to put those stones down? To trust in a power greater than our fear and guilt? To discover that a rocky plain could be a holy place? At the end of the service, if we were ready, we could bring our stones forward to give away.
Our choir spontaneously built small stones cairns on the altar. Balance found, from stones released.