Back to Ourselves: Autumn’s Invitation to Turn Inward

As summer exhales her last warm breath, the faint cool breeze of autumn arrives on the inhale. It appears on the edges of the day during the portals of dawn and dusk, the coolness like bookends on an otherwise hot day, a gentle intimation that one season is ending and another is beginning. The exuberance of summer begins to bow out as the introspection of autumn takes center stage.

Seen through the lens of transitions, each season carries archetypal principles that, when approached consciously, can guide us into deeper layers of ourselves. Where winter signals a slow silence, spring awakens an inner rebirth, and summer celebrates the fullness of our joy, autumn invites us to turn inward and shed what no longer serves us.

Everything about autumn invites introspection and letting go. The days shorten, the light fades, and the season entices us to come inside and sit by the fire. When we listen to autumn’s invitation, it’s as if she says, “Allow the embers and golden light to flicker awake a state of reflection. Think about the places inside that are ready to die. Like the old leaves on the tree that know it’s time to take the leap and float to their final resting place, so there are behaviors, habits, beliefs, and negative thoughts that are ready to release from the tree of your mind and burn in the heat of this fire.”

Of course, we can reflect and let go any time of year. But when we align with the dominant urging of the season, we harness the current energy and can utilize it to facilitate our inner processes. There is a natural in-breath and out-breath inherent to the four seasons, an alternating interplay of extroversion and introversion that guides our lives. Following the extroversion of outdoor summer play, we’re naturally ready to come inside and live from a slower rhythm. Where summer is about connecting with others, autumn’s invitation is to reconnect with ourselves.

Now is the time to ask yourself the central question of this season: “What is it time to let go of?” Make a list of the thoughts, beliefs, and habits that are no longer serving you. Perhaps it’s your habitual fear-based thoughts of worry or anxiety; perhaps it’s your tendency to nit-pick or criticize your partner; perhaps it’s getting angry at your kids; perhaps it’s the inner critic, the voice that’s constantly telling you that you’re not a good enough wife or mother or person.

Whatever it is, begin to notice it. Allow it to bubble up spontaneously during an early morning walk or a late afternoon tea. Then write it down on the vibrant leaves that crinkle beneath your feet and toss it into the sea. There is such beauty in letting go. 

About the Author

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Sheryl Paul, M.A., has counseled thousands of people worldwide through her private practice, her bestselling books, her Home Study Programs and her websites. She has appeared several times on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, as well as on “Good Morning America” and other top media shows and publications around the globe. To sign up for her free 78-page eBook, “Conscious Transitions: The 7 Most Common (and Traumatic) Life Changes“, visit her website at

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