On this cool and rainy, strangely quiet Tuesday, we celebrate the first day of fall and begin the last 100 days of the calendar year. I am always drawn to the magic of transition, and this moment in history feels especially worth a pause, a slow look around, and an expression of gratitude. Today also feels like a good day to set precious intentions for finishing this year strong and happy.
We are learning to brace through disorder and seek out the loose ends that might lead us somewhere more beautiful than we ever dreamed. We absolutely have the skills to recreate lives and families and societies, to rebuild them from the crumbles.
We are learning to find pleasure and satisfaction in simpler pursuits, and we may never again take for granted the freedom to gather face to face with loved ones, around small tables, in large groups.
We are bonded together over the importance of democracy and common decency. We see how ugliness breeds ugliness, in politics and beyond. But we also see how lovingkindness can heal deep wounds, how listening can usher in better understanding, and how wonderful it can be to step outside of old boxes.
The distance between people feels great at times, but we are learning to bridge it with more phone calls and more virtual game nights and more handwritten letters. Communication is improving. We have needed this in many ways.
We all have multiple purposes in life, and maybe like me you have been learning through pandemic what some of those purposes are. Maybe this long, unusual year is serving to distill some theoretical ideas in our hearts and help us shed distractions and focus in on what we want to do with our lives. I feel it, like a bass drum in my ribs. And I wish it for you.
I don’t know about you, but I have learned that planning out our days and weeks is good and routines feel great, but with both of these, being flexible is crucial. There is a gracefulness in this that can serve me for the rest of my life, if I allow it to.
Mindset matters. How we frame experiences, the expectations we place on life events from the mundane to the momentous, is what colors everything. (Seasonal shifts are a great time to remember this, because we get to decide whether summer fun is over or a cozier, more sensual, less laborious time is just beginning. Example: I may eaten my last watermelon for a while, but that first pot of butternut squash-coconut milk soup is soon happening!)
While writing the above thoughts, I spent a little time sifting through the things in my heart that I would like to have accomplished by the end of the year. I wrote out my list of intentions for the next 100 days. With some effort, I kept the list compact (seven definable goals) and stayed focused on the values that have been offered to me in life lessons since March: Home and hearth, excellent communication, gratituide, literacy, purposeful living, health and vitality, and better stewardship, to name a few. Then I broke the intentions down into fourteen daily actionable habits (remembering that flexibility might ask me to not be perfect every single day, ha). Three months plus change is a nice slice of time for focusing on special things.
I think it’s extra wonderful that we are having cool, rainy weather today, for this thoughtful pause. If intention setting is your thing, I highly encouage you to take a moment today and deliberately frame the next 100 days. Take back this year that so many would have us write off. Make it yours. At the very least, soak up this seasonal transition and look around your life to take stock of how this historically bizarre year has blessed you, how the weirdness has created magic in your life. If you need help with this, let me know. I woudl absolutely love to chat.
Take care, friends.