Monday, November 7, 2011

Stepping Back

Written by Sarah

Autumn is such a nostalgic season. For me, fall is about taking the energy I have been projecting out into the world, and pulling it back into myself. In many ways, going out amongst the mountains in the summer and coming in for the winter are very different paths both leading to the same destination: becoming lost in the silence of simply being. Whereas hiking silences my mind with ease, sitting with the quiet and looking inward requires greater diligence and patience.

Conscious of the changes occurring inside myself, I always enjoy musing over the transformation of the natural world – watching the green of summer give way to vibrant displays of color. Of course, with the fickle nature of fall in the mountains, the valleys become aflame with reds, oranges, and yellows as the peak of the season has come and gone along the ridgeline and tired, brown leaves cling to mostly bare branches.

In light of the season, and my penchant for letting my mind wax nostalgically, how fitting that this weekend should be designated as homecoming in the church where I grew up.

Driving down the mountain, towards the southeastern shore of my childhood, was far more than stepping backwards in the season; entire years flew by in the few hours it took me to reach my destination.

I was able to attend one of two days of festivities, and connected with friends I had long forgotten or with whom I’ve lost touch. I wandered the familiar old hallways, remembering the still, quiet feeling of the building, reflecting on all that has changed and all that has remained the same.

The weekend has left a lasting impression on me – a different understanding of who I have been and might be, and where I find myself at present. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with times past, and bring those memories to light in the present.

What a way to unplug – not just from technology, but also from my potentially flawed conceptions of who I am and what I can offer the world. How can we truly let go, in our day-­‐to-­‐day lives, of all the ways we keep ourselves from reaching our true potential?

A few answers to this question, and reflections on my time spent revisiting my childhood, come to mind:
  • Those who truly care about you will affirm the course you choose, no matter where you might be on your path.
  • In any transition, there will be people you lose touch with and forget; this doesn’t mean they haven’t played an important part in your growth.
  • Celebrate! Celebrate in the face of uncertainty; celebrate even when the going is rough; celebrate for no reason other than simply celebrating.

    Have you ever gone back to an earlier time or place in your life? 
    What was it like to experience your memories? 

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