October Awareness

Mindfulness is about being awake, aware, and attentive to what is going on around you- in this present moment. Sometimes this requires us to unglue our attention from ruminative problem solving, painful life circumstances, and the things that drain our energy and time. On the other hand, sometimes being aware and awake to the present moment evokes sensations, memories, or circumstances that we would rather avoid, and thus being attentive and present to the present moment is difficult.

Fall can be a difficult time of year for some- impending darkness, the end of summer, the beginning of cold weather, the reminder that things are changing, and the anticipation of winter. Some people may have a hard time with fall because it reminds them of past events, anniversaries, or difficult periods in their lives.

Whatever is the case for you, there are certain things about October that are worth paying attention to.  Tolerating distress is about getting in touch with small things, sensory things, and soothing things. Paying attention, taking notice, and recognizing things that you typically ignore can widen the path towards finding joy, being in the moment, experiencing October, and valuing and connecting to what is going on around you.

So this week I’ve made a list of some of the things that you may want to pay attention to. Some of them are sights, some sounds, and some tastes. Try savoring some of these experiences this month; if even just for a moment:

Chai tea* the warmth and crackle of a wood-burning fireplace* pumpkin ice cream* the comfort of polar fleece* the sound of the furnace kicking in* sound of rainfall* autumn sunshine* silly jack-o-lantern designs* shape of oak and maple leaves* the odd and uneven ways in which trees change color* Mexican hot chocolate* spiderwebs* the warmth of stepping into your own home* acorns* spooky stories* taste of pumpkin seeds* gooey, stringy pumpkin innards* cold noses* smell of pumpkin pie* tartness of apples* sunshine streaking through the city after the rain* subtle changes in the air* apple cinnamon* bursts of fall colors* sweaters and turtlenecks* pumpkin spice lattes* taste of the wind* mud puddles* colorful umbrellas* historic places* hole-in-the-wall restaurants* mulled cider* ghosts and graveyards