Yesterday I finally accepted October. It always takes me a long time, some years longer than others. I hold on childishly to the idea that the sun will again deeply warm the earth and the trees will grow heavy with green again. At some point every year something inside me shifts and I stop wanting summer.
Every October it is the same. A sort of longing settles in that the autumn will blink by and it will be Christmas and the Winter Solstice very quickly. Then I can again be on the side of the year when the light is slowly increasing. But it is hard to see Fall for all its color when I’m wanting the depths of December.
There is a concept in yogic philosophy that I fought for a long time, but now I’ve settled into. That is the idea of attachment or grasping. I love the word grasping. Whenever I say it my fists curl up and I can feel my belly organs squeezing together. It is a type of wanting that pulls you out of the present moment. Each year I would grasp at the idea of the Winter Solstice, then the first days of spring, then the real warmth of summer and then grasp back at the deep days of summer and then after two months of defeat long for December again. All of the longing made it so difficult to enjoy and sense the individuality of different parts of the year.
This mid October with autumn starting to move past excess into sun-filled wilt is a spectacular time. Yesterday I walked around mid-day in a long sleeve shirt and thick winter scarf and felt deliciously cozy and warm. We still do have beautiful days and this new slanting light pours deep into the house and deep into my office treatment room.
Each year I grasp less or care less about my grasping. It is easier to sit with the wanting and just witness it. After months of grasping about my husband finding a job, he now has one and my body feels at a loss. But what will I worry about now? What will I grasp for next?
Last week I wrote about Unfulfilled Desires. It feels like a good time of year to be writing about such difficult thoughts, because I invite you to take stock. We are entering the season of return. It is possible for a brief moment to rush out into the summer and be impersonal, disconnected from the body. But the winter pulls us back to our self. As you come face to face with October there is the inevitable seeing of one’s self, of one’s health, of one’s desires.
The danger of attachment is that it can be past-focused or future-focused. Right now I’m slowly entering out of very intense attachment for the summer. I haven’t been ready for heavy sweaters or being cold. Even just sitting here thinking about it my hands are forming little unconscious fists of wanting.
Try it, say the word grasping and make the fists. See how much wanting there is in your hands. What are you wanting or what are you not capable of letting go? What would be in there if you could shrink down that wanting into fist-size handfuls?
I used to think I would be a whole person when I stopped grasping. Now I realize that was simply grasping at the idea of perfection. There will always be grasping, but it doesn’t have to spiral and tighten us around ourselves until our organs are locked up. It is very human of us to want, but there is something divine about allowing ourselves to hold that desire.
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