I have a bit of a love hate relationship with fall: I enjoy the beautiful colors of autumn all around me, but I also can’t help but think about what comes afterwards. I’m a summer girl, as are Allegra and Ruby: we thrive on warm weather and sun light.

However, in the spirit of living in the moment – something my cats remind me to do each and every day – I try to embrace autumn in all its glory. I’m making a point to pay attention to the slow changes in the leaves in my backyard, and on my daily walks. I’m focusing on appreciating the beauty of the season, rather than on dreading the inevitable journey toward winter.

Nothing remains the same

Autumn, more than any other season, reminds us that nothing stays the same. Everything goes through a cycle of death and rebirth. For this reason, fall is a good time to take stock and figure out what no longer serves us. As we watch the leaves fall, we are reminded that nature’s cycles are a mirror of our lives.

Autumn reminds us that nothing is permanent. When we don’t fully accept this tenet, we suffer. When we do accept it, we find peace. Accepting that nothing is permanent makes the present moment more precious. But as bittersweet and painful as impermanence can be, there is also beauty in it. The sadness we feel is a consequence of love, and grief can deepen your ability to love if you let it. By accepting the impermanence of everything in life, by allowing your heart to open to life in all its fullness, you open yourself to everything life has to offer.

There is balance between light and darkness

Autumn also reminds us that there is always balance between light and darkness. On the day of the fall equinox, day and night are of equal length. As the days get shorter and shorter heading toward winter, we find ourselves with an opportunity to perhaps rest a little more and do a little less. The Tao reminds us that it is necessary to seek the light within the darkness, and recognize the darkness within the light.

Ultimately, the gift of autumn is about the inevitability of change. Rather than fighting this, why not let the beautiful colors of the season be a reminder to embrace change?

If I need a reminder of all that is good about fall, all I have to do is look at my two beautiful girls with their orange, yellow and tan fall color coats. Nothing brings out the gorgeous colors in torties’ coats better than the light of autumn.

This post was first published October 11, 2015

19 Comments on Conscious Cat Sunday: The Gifts of Autumn

  1. I feel like you. your post was lovely, and wise. I will try to keep it in mind as it gets colder and darker.
    Thank you

  2. I like the idea of summer, but I live in Texas and it gets way too hot in the summer for me. So, fall is my favorite season. I love when it starts cooling down and I can get outside again. I just wish we had the beautiful fall colors like the northern states get.

  3. Having moved south from Massachusetts I enjoy this time of year down here more than back home. I’ve grown tired of the cold (or at least my shoveling body has) and much prefer these warmer fall days in NC. The colors of fall are, indeed beautiful, the smells are wonderful,the air crisp- all nice things. Wonderful post to read.

  4. Life is very fickle and as we age we realize that only death is permanent while all other things are always temporary. Live your life knowing that you will die someday and with this thought you will be able to lead a more perfect lifestyle which even death would be embarrassed.I appreciate the carefree attitude of my cats that live for the moment and content with the basic necessities for a cat lifestyle. We human’s can learn a lot from our cats.

  5. Thanks for such wonderful insight, Ingrid. You always inspire me!
    I have such mixed emotions about this time of year…in one way I love it and in another…it seems to bring a sadness.
    I read your post to Mark as we were on the road, traveling home from our trip. He commented something like, “and what do I always tell you?”
    And he does tell me, and I do work really hard on living in the moment. There’s so much pain in the past (death, literally and figuratively) and absolutely no way to know what the future holds (rebirth)…but by George…I can embrace today…love it, appreciate it and find the joy in it.
    I do have that little orange tabby to help remind me too. ; )

    • I’m so glad this post was inspirational for you, Toni. Cats definitely do much better with the whole living in the moment thing than we humans do!

  6. I wish I could find fall positive but I find it very depressing. I equate it with death. Sorry to be morbid. I love the flowers and long hot days here in central NC. Admittedly it was worse when I lived up north. I find myself counting the days til spring.

    • I’ve felt the same way Vickie for most of my life and always get depressed in the fall. Reading the children’s book “Freddie the Leaf” by Leo Buscaglia every fall has always helped a little. I LOVE Spring when the trees turn green and there are baby ducks and geese on the pond here. The summers in Ohio are just too darn short though!

  7. I ADORE AUTUMN as the start of all things & opportunities & its beauty & ABSOLUTELY LOATHE SUMMER, dread spring as harbinger of hellishly hot weather to come. (If I lived in a Northern climate like OHIO I would love summer too as theirs are lovely.)

  8. I know everything you’ve written is true BUT…….. after spending 26 years basking in the sun and warmth of Florida and never having to dread winter coming, living back in Ohio has been really hard. Next Spring I will write about all the many things I LOVE about summer. In the meantime, I will try to follow your advice and look for the good things about fall and winter. One of them is that Gordon and Jasmine’s coats grow so full that they look like powder puffs, and they aren’t subjected to their daily brushing again until Spring. (This is not on their list of favorite things to do.) 🙂

  9. What a lovely way to start this beautiful fall Sunday. I confess I am a fall/winter girl. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the changing of the season or newly fallen snow. You have shown me a new way to appreciate the fall. Thank you.

    Piper enjoys the fall/winter because we have southern exposures windows in our apartment. The sunbeams always hit right on her kitty condo. So not only is it cozy because it is under the heat vent, but it shows off her beautiful black coat. Happy Sunday to all of you.

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