Change of Seasons and 3 Ways to Embrace Autumn

A snapshot from my camping trip in Pescadero, CA

A snapshot from my camping trip in Pescadero, CA

Fall is my favorite time of year because it is nature’s pause. We start to see a beautiful transformation with the trees changing from a vibrant green to a crunchy orange. The carefree attitude of the summer months shift into a comfy, cozy frame of mind during late September and October. I get excited for the crisp weather and the pumpkin flavored goodies, like pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin biscotti that line the market aisles.

With all the physical changes that happen around us, what changes are happening within us?

With shorter days and longer nights we find ourselves settling into new routines. Before the holiday season starts to gain traction, let’s take a moment to reflect, recharge, and reconnect.

Reflect:

Take part of an evening and give thought to events that have taken place this past year. For those who journal, go back and read what you have written these past months. Get a perspective on the issues that you were working through and look at the progress you’ve made.

Recharge:

Everyone that I work with at O’Connor Mortuary is passionate about what they do. We put our heart and soul into every moment we spend with families. We share in on some happy moments with families, like when they share their loved ones story or when we connect over something that shows just how small this world is. We also share some heartbreaking moments with them. On the emotional side of things, it’s hard to not take a little bit of “work” home with us.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/ javarman3

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/ javarman3

When we have our time away from the mortuary, we do things that recharge our spirit and bring balance back into our lives. Some of us do this by having guitar jam sessions, seeking the perfect wave to surf, getting enthralled by a novel, yoga, and by enjoying moments with friends and family.

I think another great way to recharge is to go on an adventure. With warm days and cooler evenings, fall is the perfect time of year to explore. Escape fluorescent lights and the city life. Take a hike in the local wilderness park or drive up the coast to Big Sur.

Camp under the stars and let the sunlight wake you up as it breaks through the treetops. Go anywhere that doesn’t have cell phone reception!

Reconnect:

Fall and winter months bring family and friends closer together. Being in the presence of people you enjoy sparks feelings of hope, closeness, and joy.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/ulldellebre

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/ulldellebre

When we are missing a loved one, we tend to look far ahead and see the holidays that we will spend without them. For some of us, we will always have an empty seat at our Thanksgiving and Christmas table. If someone close to you has passed, take this time to visit where they are buried. Have a meal at their favorite spot and take a friend along.

When going into a new season, we are reminded that all life is impermanent. This fall, honor your body by deepening your connection with yourself and the people around you because each moment we have is fleeting.

 

What are some ways you will enjoy this season?

How do you recharge after a long week at work?

Lauren

About Lauren

I'm a Southern California dreamer. Practicing yoga, exploring the outdoors, and having a good chat over coffee are some of the ways I like to recharge. Since starting at O'Connor Mortuary in February as a funeral service assistant, I have a new perspective of what time means and value the people in my life. I think it's amazing how the human spirit can be recharged from just a simple act of kindness. By working on services and helping families through one of their most difficult times, I truly have found my passion and am now training to become a funeral director.
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  • Lori

    Lauren,
    You are such a great writer! As I sit here on one of the first cool mornings that I actually had to turn on the heater, fall is definitely upon us.
    I, like you, love this time of year for the weather and the pumpkin goodies.
    There is a sadness that lingers for me as the holidays approach. So many of my family members are gone and the days of the full holiday table are no more. New traditions have been made with friends and extended family.
    I have not spent a holiday with my family in Nevada in four years.
    You are right, life is impermanent, but sadness does not have to remain. There are new routines, traditions and memories to be made. This is what I have taken from your post.
    I will focus on who I do have around me this holiday season instead of who is no longer here. I am so glad that you are part of that circle.
    I love watching and hearing how wonderful you are with families you serve at O’Connor.
    Keep being great!! <3 <3 <3
    Lori

    • Lauren

      Thank you Lori, and I’m glad that you could take so much away from this post! Let’s have a pumpkin party and eat until our stomachs hurt!

      • Lori

        I’m in! We will wash it down with Pumpkin Ale!

  • Patricia Kolstad

    Lauren . . .
    Like many others, I sometimes impatiently wait for fall. By the time it arrives, I am really “over” summer. For me, fall cleans the air, the earth, and the soul. We wash away what once was, and prepare for renewal. I’m heading out next week for northern California. Convict Lake, to be exact. There I will gather the images of changing colors, feel the crispness of the air, and get to wear a coat!!

    Fall also mean shorter days and more “staying in”. For our aging seniors, in can bring loneliness and depression. The impending holidays are not what they use to be for them. I think of many in the Village who will not tread out for that quick bite to eat with friends at the end of the day, just because the are apprehensive being out after dark. We have the opportunity to be more patient, offer more compassion and love to those we will be serving during the upcoming holiday season.

    Now that I’m working less, I’ve so enjoyed being with my family and friends. Golfing at our little 9 hole in the Village is a great way to be with friends and decompress. I don’t take it serious (only the guys who make “gazillions” do) and it’s a great way to get outdoors.

    You are a gifted writer, Lauren, and I’m so thankful that you are part of our Team! Families appreciate your kindness and your caring spirit. Awesome blog!

    Pat

    • Lauren

      I feel sad that some are hesitant to go out after dark to be with friends. We associate holiday time with laughter and happiness, but you are right that some will feel lonely. I will be mindful about this and give more patience and care to those around me. Thank you for sharing Pat!

  • Becky Finch Lomaka

    One of my favorite quotes for this time of year is by Albert Camus – “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” I agree, that fall is the perfect time of year to re-examine the life you are living. I love your three R’s – reflect, recharge, reconnect!

    I always try to live in the moment during the fall months, taking in the beauty of the season, the yummy smells, and the cherished moments with family and friends. This helps me enter the “holiday season” refreshed and ready to enjoy.

    With two active little boys at the center of our world, recharging for my husband and I rarely involves actually sitting and relaxing, but we do recharge by jumping into wild and fun family adventures that we hope will create lasting memories for our boys.

    • Lauren

      What a great quote!
      I think that it’s great that you and your husband go on crazy family adventures, it gives your kids the opportunity to one day reflect on what great times they had with their family during the fall/winter months!

  • Elsa

    Lauren,
    What a refreshing Blog. I too LOVE Fall. It may have something to do with my Birthday also being in the month of October:) I look forward to the fresh crisp air and changing leaves the most…and of course all the comfort holiday foods. The one thing that I miss the most from the summer months are the longer evenings. Shorter days mean colder and darker evening runs, but on the upside, it also means more enjoyable yoga sessions:)
    I LOVE FALL!!

    • Lauren

      You are so right about the more enjoyable yoga sessions!!
      And I’m excited for all the comfort foods during the holidays: gooey mac and cheese, creamy pot pies, and pumpkin spice lattes!

  • Lauren,
    I love the spirit of introspection in your blog. I certainly feel myself drawn toward that this time of year but for some reason, this year I’m having more trouble disconnecting from the sillier things of life than I have before. I really appreciate your encouraging focus on ourselves and how we change – most especially – how we need to know about the change. So important.

    Excellent post, thank you so much for sharing & take with you the knowledge that you will help me really sit and learn a little bit more about myself. : )

    Molly

    • Lauren

      That’s awesome, I’m so glad that you were able to take something away from this post!
      What we are feeling or having trouble getting through, no matter how big or small, are important to us and are a sign that something deeper might be triggering us to feel that way.
      Thanks for sharing Molly!

  • Fitz

    Hey Lauren,

    Thanks for the words in your blog. They’ve hit home with me as I was just commenting to my wife last night that I was bummed about summer being over and the daylight getting shorter. You words have encouraged me to have a different attitude about the change in season. I think I was bummed because I mountain bike and trail run to recharge. I will just have to find other ways to recharge during the darkness.
    Growing up in the midwest, we always looked forward to the changes especially fall to winter because of the snow. It’s time to have the same mindset here as well.
    Thanks!
    Fitz

    • Lauren

      Thanks for sharing Fitz! I’m glad that you found encouragement to take on a different attitude about the season. And I hope that you find your release and a way to escape by doing another activity, maybe hot yoga!!

  • Anne

    Lauren
    Being from the midwest, my favorite part of fall was always the falling leaves of rich colors. Some trees dropped nothing but brilliant yellow, others crisp shades of red, with the mottled and browns and oranges here and there. I loved jumping in the huge piles before they were burned as a child.
    Another welcome part of fall is the jonathan apples which came for only a short season but were so crisp and sour-sweet.
    This year, fall seems to have dumped me into a deep sadness, but then I guess that is a season of the journey I am on. Part of the way to get through this season is acceptance of where I am. I am learning not to allow the well-meaning criticisms of others walking along the super highway across the way to discourage me in my current lack of progress along this solitary stony path upward. It is only solitary because each person gets to walk it basically alone with God as we learn a new way. I see shadows of others ahead, and I am encouraged to know that I too shall progress. In the last few days, I looked back to see my dear neighbor starting, down at the fork in the road, her husband having just been given a “no-cure” prognosis. The path is stony, but there is beauty along it, too. I reflect on it, and it rejuvenates me to tackle the next boulder.
    Thank Lauren for sharing your beautiful thoughts. I appreciate knowing you and I am here for you if the holidays, or the ordinary days become difficult.
    Anne

    • Lauren

      I am so sorry to hear of your neighbor’s husband. I know that with you being her neighbor, you will be there to share your compassion and understanding.

      Anne thank you so much for all our talks! I really enjoy our time together and I am here for you too, during any season.

  • Jeff Turner

    Lauren,
    I too love this seasonal change very much. It somehow appeals to that melancholy side of me. It takes me back to my elementary school days when craft projects turned to things made of orange construction paper and black crayon. To images of pumpkins and pilgrims.

    I had never thought of Autumn as a “nature’s pause” as you so beautifully put it, but it is the perfect phrase to describe it. Introspection is not something we do well as a society. I find myself a slave to the urgent, an addict of electronics and suffer too often from “hurry sickness”. I am taking what you have written as permission to unplug for awhile, pause and think about my life and where it is right now and how I got here.

    Thank you Lauren for permission to pause. I am going to take you up on it.

    Blessings upon you this Autumn,
    Jeff

    • Lauren

      “Hurry sickness,” wow so true for not just this time of year but in general! Thank you for reading my post and I hope you find calm and a feeling of content during your moments of reflection. Thanks for sharing Jeff!

  • Sharon Watkins

    Lauren

    One of the things I loved about living in Utah when I was in college was the distinct change in the seasons. The Fall season was my favorite when the mountains and streets were bursting with beautiful colors. The beginning of that season reminded me that Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations were just around the corner.

    Being a native Californian, I remember the first time it snowed my freshman year! All of us from California went crazy making snow balls, snow angels and learning how to ski!

    But I love that you reminded me that it can also be a time to pause and reflect and take time to enjoy this season of my life – especially when major changes are just around corner for me. This life is a journey and even with all the ups and downs of the experience – the trick is to enjoy the ride!

    Thank you for a great blog.
    Sharon

    • Lauren

      Sharon I am so excited for you and the amazing experiences you will have!! Sometimes I feel that the journey gets in the way of the destination and I just want to already be there. You are so right when you say that the trick is to enjoy the ride. Thank you for sharing your insight!

  • Erin Fodor

    Great post Lauren,

    I love the changing of the season. All the fall colors and the weather are my absolute favorite. I enjoy dusting off my boots and sweaters, and no longer having the separation anxiety from them that I did in the previous months. I look forward to the upcoming holidays, to where I get to see my extended family, which I don’t get to see enough throughout the year.

    After a long week of work I try to take a day where I can recharge. Sometimes life allows
    this, and other times it does not. I enjoy taking my dogs for a long walk in the crisp breezy morning. As well as going and getting a lit bit of pampering while getting my nails done. Then heading home and catch up on a couple TV shows I missed during the week. Fall is simply my favorite time of year.

    -Erin

    • Lauren

      Yay for bundling up in warm, soft sweaters and zipping up tall boots! Your way of recharging sounds so comforting! Thank you for sharing!

  • Chuck RIcciardi

    Lauren,
    Be still, and know I am. The only way to truly connect with our source, our God the universe or whatever your belief system is is to be still and silent. To pause as you so eloquently put it. Even mother nature has to pause and collect her thoughts for the continuous journey ahead. It is wise to take lessons from our natural surroundings that we are all connected to. As a youth it was all about summer for me. Beaches, waves, sun and of course girls. As I matured I also found myself gravitating towards what are now my two favorite months of the year, September and October. Kids are back at school, the beaches clear out and their is still some of the most beautiful days to be had. Santa Ana winds and south swells are what my dreams are made of. Then comes responsibility, family,work,computers and smart phones and the hurry up offense that is our society. It does make it difficult to collect our thoughts, but not impossible. I try to really unplug at least once a week and allow it all to wash away. Thanks for reminding us not to forget to do that! You are a wonderful asset to our team, keep it up.

    Chuck

    • Lauren

      It makes sense that we should take more lessons from nature because we are apart of it. I’m glad to hear how you are conscious to unplug and connect back to what matters most to you. Thanks Chuck for sharing!

  • Lauren

    Well said.

  • Jenn

    I like to unwind and reconnect in the fall by just staying at home sometimes or grabbing a nice dinner with friends, it seems during the summer that there is so much to do and so many places to go that sometimes in the fall it is nice to just throw on some warm socks and sweats and light up the old fireplace and snuggle with someone you love or a good movie or book.

    • Lauren

      That sounds amazing! Yay for fall and the closeness it brings with our family and friends. Thanks for sharing Jenn!

  • Greg Forster

    Hi Lauren,

    Thanks for this beautiful message. You made me eager to make my transition soon from Sunday afternoons hanging around the pool/spa to putting on my hiking boots and looking for cooler days to once again explore our local mountains and natural park areas. During my “single” days, I was very active with the Sierra Club. Fall brought several bus trips to Yosemite, the Sierras, Utah, and other areas. Whether it be hiking or backpacking, fall always, as you said, brings cooler days, the crowds are gone and there can be such quiet peace to be found. May your fall days be filled with cozy, warm, cool, and quiet.

    Greg

  • Joanna Ramirez

    What a beautiful blog Ms. Hiroshima. I love fall and when it comes a rollin, I absolutely love the change. I love the weather change and the change in the environment as a whole. Having a 2 year old makes it even more so fun especially when it rains and watching her just stare at it wondering where it is coming from. I always change something about myself when fall comes around. So far, I have kept to those goals of years past and will continue to do so.

  • Diana Williams

    Lauren,
    You framed the picture of fall, beautifully. I love this time of year! Wonderful blog!

  • Mitch

    I love the fall season. The weather starts to cool after the HOT summer. Seems natural to hunker down, regroup @ prepare for winter. For me, recharging is locking out the world & playing guitar. Music just seems to speak in a different language & unlocks my imagination & i just meander.

  • Carrie Bayer

    Lauren, what a great piece! I’m always ready for summer to end & the cooling to begin. Shorter days usually mean I am able to sleep a little longer because the sun doesn’t wake me- a true gift for an insomniac. I find myself turning on the heater at home, closing the windows at night & enjoying being all warm & cozy. On my weekends off, I spend my days running around town, visiting friends, doing chores, riding my skateboard & whatever spontaneous activity presents itself. Thank you for this great blog! Carrie

  • Shasta Thompson

    Great blog, Lauren! I love Fall and Halloween time. I can’t wait to take my baby brother trick or treating again, this time he will know what’s going on! I love to eat and drink anything pumpkin flavored during this time, and usually a very large amount of candy corn! I like to recharge by going to the gym, spending time with my family and my boyfriend, and reading. Thanksgiving time will be different this year without my brother, Casey. It is actually a little scary to think about even though it’s right around the corner, but I know he will be around like he always is, in spirit. It is true that every moment is fleeting and we should appreciate this time just as we remember the past so fondly.

  • Mark Adams

    Lauren….Thanks for the reminder to slow down and reflect, recharge, and reconnect….I agree…this is a great time of year to do all three….by the way, one other great thing you forgot to mention about fall is that it is the start of the basketball season….Mark

  • Michael Thomas

    I like the 3 R’s a lot. Well said, H-Bomb. Lets start Autumn off right by going to an October Fest!

  • Lauren

    Disneyland sounds like a perfect way to spend this time of year with your daughters!
    Thank you for all that you do Amy!

  • Lauren

    Thanks Curly Fry!
    I love it! Make room at your table, I’ll be coming over for stews and casseroles 🙂

  • Lauren

    You are so right that other cultures embrace life’s little changes. It’s the little changes that add up and have a big impact.
    Thanks for sharing Neil! And I think I will stick with the occasional miniature golf 🙂

  • Joe Lavoie

    Thank You Lauren , I enjoy the season by spending every moment that I can with my family here and up north and to reflect on my family that is no longer with me. I always keep an open mind and remember others are not as fortunate as we all are and the need to help especially through my rotary involvement , this helps me recharge from a tough or challenging week to remember family , friends and to look at the bigger picture.
    Joe Lavoie

  • tommy mc mahon aka o.c. tommy

    Hey girl. what a great blog , I know how much you love the great outdoors. I also know how much you love being a funeral director, however whats all this talk about boots, scarfs, sweaters and hot coffee. I think with your passion and love for life that a.c. should always be running on high. I may not be here when you become the number one funeral arranger but I know that day is in your future.