Autumn Awakening

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

Soon Mother Nature will reveal her spectacular palette of reds, oranges, golds, and browns while we diligently swap out our shorts and tees for cashmeres and cable knits. Restless children will return to school and shortened daylight hours will signal winter’s approach. Many will give thanks around tables of food as brilliant in color as the season herself, celebrating another year of bounty and blessings.

Autumn has long held pride of place in my heart. I can’t help but anticipate her arrival each year, like that of a close friend who knows you deeply. Her timing impeccable, it’s no accident that she shows up right between summer and winter, a salve for the oppressive heat, a cushion for the cold nights to come.

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Mindful Gold Mine: Meditations Worthy of Your Attention

With an abundance of meditation practices to choose from, it can be difficult to find just what you’re looking for. You may have a favorite app, teacher, or website that you frequent regularly, or maybe you’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. While it’s not always easy to narrow down the selection, finding meditations that suit your busy lifestyle and individual preferences can be a serious game-changer. I’ve put together a list of my go-to resources for guided meditations, each of which offers different sets of practices and teachings. So whether you’re new to the scene or approaching the status of a Zen master, I hope you’ll give some of these goodies a try. And don’t worry about breaking the bank – they’re all free!

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The Road to Worthiness is Paved with Imperfection

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” – Brené Brown

Have you ever met someone who exudes confidence, someone who’s so comfortable in their own skin that you can’t help but feel empowered when you’re around them? They don’t always know the right thing to say and you can bet they’ve made errors in judgment before. But their perceived self-worth isn’t diminished by evidence of their imperfections.

Close your eyes and think about what you might say to yourself when you make a mistake. Perhaps you’d degrade yourself for falling short or ruminate on all the things you could have done differently. Maybe you’d convince yourself that you’re worthless, incompetent, or weak. You might even go as far as to say that you don’t deserve love and compassion, at least not from yourself.

In the moments when we most need a little tenderness we quickly become our own worst enemies. Instead of recognizing and acknowledging our inherent goodness, we turn our words into weapons with messages of failure and defeat.

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An Ode to Nature

This article originally appeared on Baltimore STYLE.

As a child, shoes were always optional. I wandered barefoot as often as I could get away with, splashing through welcoming post-rainfall puddles in the driveway and feeling the crisp grass between my toes in the front yard. Covering my feet felt unnaturally restrictive. They longed to be free, exploring the earth beneath them in all its temperatures and textures: cool pavement, warm sand, rough bark, lush moss.

I developed an intimate connection with nature early on, marveling at its tiniest insects and tallest tress. I took comfort in spotting the moon each night and befriended caterpillars each summer as they morphed into butterflies. I was nearly inconsolable when the ant in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” died.

There was no distinction in my mind between play clothes and dress clothes. Whatever I was wearing risked weathering the impact of grass, dirt, wind and rain, sometimes all at once. Nature and I were constant allies, I admiring her handiwork, she replenishing my curiosity.

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