autumn as a time of deepening into feeling

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As the weather takes a decided turn from the fire element toward the water element here in the Pacific Northwest, I find myself pulling all the bounty from the gardens, then turning the residues in. Similarly, I find myself harvesting what is most valuable from all the inner growth of summer, and turning the rest in…allowing it to decay and nourish whatever’s next. There is a definite slowing down and turning in going on. Often this can be accompanied by a sometimes uncomfortable need to become more intimate with my own feeling life.
In this culture, we have received deeply ingrained training to override our deepest longings and attempt to fill our deep spiritual hunger with superficial, fleeting pleasure. After 14 years of spiritual practice in which longing is central, I am still shocked at how little I allow myself to fully feel this primal need for the divine. Little wonder, as it is a profoundly transformative force when allowed to flow freely. As I am fond of saying, longing is the key to living with a felt sense of the Beloved at the center of your daily life.
To reclaim the power of longing to realign your life, a really useful practice can be tracking your longings and the ways that you may block that channel. Journaling is a wonderful way to trace these threads and take full advantage of the opportunity for growth that this moment presents. Here are some additional journaling prompts for you to work with. I invite you to write about these topics first in “stream of consciousness” style first, then come back to what you’ve written and develop it further.
 
– My deepest longing is…
– I block my longing with…
– I am being asked to sacrifice…
– The phase of my life that is ending is…
– The phase of my life that is beginning is…
– I am harvesting…
– I feel visceral gratitude for…
– I am preparing myself to receive the Beloved in this way…
– My way of approaching the Beloved is…
– I am willing to change…
– My role in the symphony of life is…
– I know myself as the one who…
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