I love the way the window on our little landing and the back door downstairs with its four square panes of glass look out over the entire garden. In the mornings, when I first get up to make a cup of tea, I pause first on the landing and then again by the back door, watching and listening to the birds and sensing the feeling of the day. As I wait for the tea to brew, I step out onto the back step and breath in the morning air.
Now, as the silver birch leaves are falling fast to the ground, leaving a thin golden carpet underfoot and the light is softer and the air has a fresh chill, the transition into autumn is well underway.
As I look out, I feel the indescribable joy of autumn inside me and I want to leap out into the day and gobble the season down. Yet just as with the transition from winter into spring, there is simultaneously a deep fear, sadness and even terror as I look out.
I want to give myself over fully to autumn. To fall into its comforting embrace and love it with wild abandon. The resistance is the part of me that knows that in a few months’ time I will be faced with the inevitable fading of autumn into winter and I will have to grieve the loss of what I loved.
The resistance is the part of me that wants to keep me safe. It says, “If you don’t go all the way in, if you hold some of your love back, then the inevitable loss won’t be quite as difficult.”
Perhaps this is true. Perhaps if we keep ourselves from loving fully, we can avoid the depth of grief that losing that love entails. Or perhaps not. Perhaps the grief we feel will still be the same, we simply won’t have allowed ourselves the gift of fully loving.
The sensitive heart feels everything and it feels everything deeply. We live right at the centre of the beauty-pain paradox. There is no answer to a paradox. All we can do is breathe into it, doing our best to find acceptance through each layer of discomfort.
So we stand on the back doorstep, looking out into the beginning of this golden, scrumptious season and breathe into the joy and sadness, the love and grief, the desire to leap and the fear holding us back. We breathe into it all and hold our tender, sensitive hearts close. And we reassure and remind ourselves that we are capable of holding space for whatever grief we might have to experience because of our willingness to love.
And then, knowing that we are not alone, knowing that there are other sensitive hearts out there who understand and travel with us, we can step down and walk out into the garden, out into the new season, out into the beautiful heartbreak of life.
Love and courage,