Recently, I took a drive in the mountains near my house to see the autumn leaves changing color. Describing this scene as incredible seems like an understatement. The mountainside was covered in a sea of reds, oranges, yellows, and evergreens. Bright red leaves next to golden yellow trees made each color even more vibrant. It literally took my breath away.
I’ve admired these leaves and the brilliant colors for years. I’ve driven through the mountains for as long as I can remember each year to enjoy the beauty of autumn leaves. It’s a favorite tradition of mine. Each year I am in awe of this beautiful world I live in. I’ve been reminded of how there is a season for everything. I’ve thought about the excitement of a new season and the sadness of closing the season of life I’m currently in. I’ve thought about the importance of letting go.
As I continued to drive and enjoy the scenery, I realized something new. It isn’t the leaves falling to the ground that make this season so spectacular, the beauty of autumn lies in change.
It is in the changing of these colors that we recognize the beauty they hold. Although still beautiful in their own way, without change, these leaves don’t dazzle and showcase all that autumn has to offer.
Change is required before letting go.
This is true in my own journey as well. Letting go is an important part of my recovery. Letting go of ideas, beliefs and stories that no longer serve me is a necessary step in change. Letting go of comparisons, control, resentments, and expectations are all part of my transformation. Before I can let go, I have to change. Without change, it’s hard to let go. A green leaf that is being nourished by the tree doesn’t want to let go. It takes a great force outside itself to fall to the ground. This force might be a strong wind, or a child who is walking past and pulls the leaf off the tree.
Once the leaves change color, it gives them a chance to let go. They are no longer being nourished by the tree, and letting go becomes easier. This leaf transformed from the inside out. That original change, the chlorophyll that stopped producing, wasn’t apparent to anyone walking by. Those beginning changes were only known to the tree.
Similarly, before letting go, something must change within me. My changes start from the inside out. For instance, before I can let go of an expectation, I have to change what I think or believe. If I have an expectation that my children will clean the house without being asked , and I don’t want to be disappointed or resentful, I need to change what I think to fit reality. This shift in my own thinking allows me the chance to let go of my expectation.
As I continued to drive down the canyon, I realized that the more intense the change, the more beauty I saw. To recognize that this vibrant red tree was once green made this drastic change all the more magnificent. How true this has been in my journey. The more intense my changes have been, the more beauty I see in my life. Many of my changes have come slowly, one leaf at a time. At times, entire trees seem to change overnight. Looking at where my life was 2 years ago compared to today, there have been some incredible and intense changes. I see the beauty in these changes and I’m grateful for these never ending Octobers, with continual change and letting go.
As Ann of Green Gables has said, “”I’m so glad I live in a world full of Octobers”. Me too.