As I look around at the leaves falling from the trees, I'm reminded what a beautiful time of year autumn is. Its true that the nights are drawing in and its getting much colder, but there are so many colours on the trees, and the wonderful rustling of walking through fallen leaves. So what can autumn teach us about the things we hang onto?
Quite often we hold onto habits and beliefs even though they aren't getting us what we want in life. Somehow we continue to act as if doing the same things will get us a different outcome. We want to lose weight, or get fit; but instead of changing our diet and exercise tell ourselves all of the reasons why its too hard. We want to feel happier and be more successful, but still hang out with negative people who tell us we will never make it. So what is stopping you from letting go?
Autumn shows us that some parts of the tree must fall away when the time comes, and is a natural part of the tree's growth. The green leaves served their purpose during the sunny summer months when the tree needed to use the sun's energy to grow. And however important that was, the time still comes for the leaves to fall to the ground. The tree seems bare and exposed during this change, and yet, come spring, buds will appear and the tree will grow new leaves for the new season.
I talk with my managers about trees when we are discussing decision making. We talk about leaf decisions. These are decisions that we describe as those where they have shown themselves to be able to make those decisions safely and should make them without seeking permission first, or indeed telling us about them at all. At one level it is about saying we trust you. At another level it is also about anticipating that sometimes we all make mistakes, and that with leaf decisions, if you make a mistake, the tree isn't going to die.
Leaves are designed to fall away at the right time. When the wind blows during the summer months the leaves remain firmly fixed to the their branches. They are the habits, beliefs and behaviours that are serving us well. And in time, the leaves change colour and fall easily from the tree. Similarly, the time often comes when our habits, beliefs and behaviours are no longer necessary, or are no longer serving us well. Alas unlike the tree, we are often not quite so good at letting go.
Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else: you are the only one who gets burned
We hold onto negative emotions, and limiting beliefs, as if somehow they are helpful. And unconsciously we use them as the best resource we have available to achieve our aim. The trouble is they are not the best resources. And what's more we often have much better resources available to us, and just aren't using them. We hold on so tightly we do more harm than good. Like the trees in autumn we just need to learn to let go when the time is right, knowing that for a time we may feel just a little exposed as we change, and that is part of emerging stronger and healthier than before.
If you are holding onto negative feelings and beliefs, and want some support to let go, and find a more positive future then get in touch. Lets walk together through winter and on into spring.