Summer Journeys/Fall Reflections
I find myself sitting here, one week into the Autumn. This morning, as the weather dropped into the 60’s, I donned leggings and long sleeves for the first time in a while. It felt like a departure from the past few weeks of straddling the threshold, one foot in summer and the other in fall.
I recall a week ago, on the equinox itself, when I woke up sneezing and then noticing sniffles. For a brief moment I was alarmed that I may be ill then, realizing what day it was, said, “ah yes season change”. As a highly sensitive person, I am very sensitive to change. For years I thought my empathic nature was a character flaw. As I matured and owned who I am, I’ve also seen its blessings and its gifts, in addition to the challenges. Season change used to be one of those challenges, throwing me into a minor hiatus. Now, I’ve learned to simply notice it, take it slow, and feel the relief of the old saying, ‘the only way out is through’.
As the weather continues to fluctuate, we are adjusting to new teachers and new rhythms. As I resume my fall work, I pause and reflect back to a summer weekday morning.
After breakfast with my daughters, I went out to the yard to get some late morning summer fresh air. As I felt the heat rising, I pondered taking my kids to swim lessons in a few hours and the necessary packing preparations for the beach afterward. My thoughts also felt tinged with guilt for being so wrapped up in summer leisure and neglecting my work. This was amplified by yet another soliciting call from a marketing service advising me that I am not “putting my book out there enough”. Perhaps that was true, and the pause in action surrounding my book was the result of my neglect. I tried to soothe myself as I continued toward the mailbox. I chose to spend my summer focused on my kids, taking them to nature camps and sailing. When rare free time became available I would squeeze in a patient visit, a podcast interview and other book promotions. As I finally reached the mailbox the exact acknowledgment I was needing that morning manifested. A very simple, yet elegant, letter on watermarked paper, read ‘Dear Melissa, Congratulations on completing your book, Recovering My True Self with Balboa Press! It’s no small accomplishment to complete the writing and publishing of a book. Many people start the writing process, but very few can say they are a published author. You should take some time to celebrate this milestone in your life. I wish you good luck in your journey as an author!’ The letter was signed by the CEO of the publishing company.
As my reflection ends, I am content in the fact I overcame the guilt and cherished the time with my kids. Their being back in school has afforded me the opportunity to resume seeing patients, engage in new writing projects, and allow for other necessary work surrounding my book. I am grateful for the timing of that letter to reassure me that there is plenty of time for all things, and as A Course In Miracles so eloquently states, ‘Let all things be exactly as they are’.
Another quiet fall moment allows me to reflect on a different summer memory. This one, a Sunday afternoon, led to an ‘aha’ moment of expansive thinking.
Among the busy summer Hamptons weekends of juggling plans, late beach trips packing coolers, washing beach towels, and family gatherings, I was surprised after breakfast to realize there were no scheduled plans this Sunday. After a brief panic—then a feeling of ease and freedom—my husband suggested taking our daughters snorkeling.
I’ve snorkeled many times, and even took scuba diving in college as part of my marine science major. I’ve also had the privilege of diving in Central America and South America, yet it never occurred to me to snorkel in the very town I’ve lived in for the past seven years.
I broke out my old flippers, mask and snorkel. As we packed up the rest of our gear, I enjoyed the trip down memory lane. I told my girls stories of when I bought them years ago at The Wateree Dive Shop in Columbia, South Carolina. We drove over the bridge we take to the beach every day in the summer and I was delighted to be approaching this day with a unique perspective. It was a fine snorkeling trip and experience, but the take away was the expansive thinking that inspired it. Sometimes we think we’ve been to every shop in town, or met every person but it’s amazing how an ordinary day has the potential to experience the extraordinary. After our snorkel trip, we even continued our afternoon at a different beach than we normally frequent. And as I was basking in the unique nature of the day, it led to another door opening as I received an unexpected contact and new connection with someone I had met a few days prior who reached out to me.
With the summer passed, and as the fall continues to unfold, I feel gratitude and satisfaction for such a bustling summer and all the associated journeys. My initial trigger to the change in season and all of the other changes that came along with it are thankfully settling down, as they always do. I gently befriend the change, and perhaps one day I’ll even embrace it.
Wishing you a prosperous fall, filled with abundant bliss and contentment!!!!!!