How to Make Peace with Autumn

Autumn is often viewed as a bitter sting after our fun loving friend Summer has gone. But that doesn’t need to be the case. Each season has it’s own unique energy, and humans are connected to that energy too. After the frenetic intensity of summer, where we’ve thrown caution to the wind, stayed up too late, and gallivanted around, we are ready for some stability.

Autumn is a call to return to rhythm and routine. It’s back to school, back to schedules, and also, a time of new beginnings. Autumn isn’t a downward spiral, it’s more of an inward journey.

We can step back, refocus, and begin to shed that which won’t serve us in the coming months. We can take a cue from nature, who showcases one last, beautiful spectacle of colour, and then, so simply, let’s it all go one leaf at a time. The trees stand stoic, getting ready for their winter slumber, without a single complaint.

Autumn is also a time of abundance and celebration where we reap the benefits of the harvest, gather in thanks with our family and friends, and make preparations for winter.

There is a quality to the light of Autumn,which poet Max Eastman describes, as “So bright and soft and tranquil-rendering…” I love that light. Especially when it falls on the face of loved ones.

So instead of cringing when we see a fallen leaf, we can instead begin to store, not just the harvest, but all of the joy, warmth and colour of autumn, for our (temporary) darker days ahead.

Halloween Without Sugar Overload

What I learned that night,  was that sometimes a thing isn’t about what you think it’s about. I thought Halloween was about collecting and eating a pillowcase full of candy. But it turns out, it’s about getting a little spine-tingling thrill, sharing with your community, and finally feeling (and looking) like the superhero that you really are.

We may be unconventional in our house, but I have come to believe that you can still participate in many traditions without violating your own personal values.  So, when my son was old enough to start trick-or-treating, we started to think about how we would celebrate Halloween in a more healthy way.

We weighed the obstacles:

  1. Typically, the candy being given out is full of ingredients and practices that we are not comfortable with ( ingredients that are artificial, detrimental to the environment, or produced using slave labour).
  2. Too much sugar weakens our immune systems, and negatively effects behaviour and sleep cycles (as well as a host of other things).
  3. Knowing all of the above, I would, without a doubt, end up eating most of that candy, which is a) terrible and b) completely unhelpful to me

That being said,  it’s super fun to trick or treat! I wouldn’t want my kids to miss out on any kind of old fashioned fun, especially when dressing up is involved. So, with a slight alteration, we found a way to join in.

We would dress up, we would trick or treat to our heart’s content, but when we got home we would swap out the candy for a special treat that we parents approved of. We also tried to purchase candy for the trick-or-treaters that was sweetened with fruit juice and contained no artificial ingredients.

When the big night came, we took a very spooky and exciting tour around our  neighbourhood. When we got back home, Fynn promptly poured his bag of treats into the bowl for trick-or-treaters. No fuss. No disappointment. We quickly handed him his treats-to-keep and he was delighted!

Much to our surprise, what made him even happier, was handing out candy to all the trick-or-treaters. He stayed by that door all night, waiting to dish out generous supplies of candy to pirates, ninjas, and princesses galore.

What I learned that night,  was that sometimes a thing isn’t about what you think it’s about. I thought Halloween was about collecting and eating a pillowcase full of candy. But it turns out, it’s about getting a little spine-tingling thrill, sharing with your community, and finally feeling (and looking) like the superhero that you really are.

That’s something I can get on board with.

halloween

Happy Halloween!

If you would like more information on chocolate made without slave labour, check out  slavefreechocolate . You might be surprised to discover that GiddyYoYo, an amazing local company (Mono, Ontario) has made the list of ethical chocolate producers 🙂

 

You are not too Busy for Self-Care

When there is a choice between doing another load of laundry or sauntering outside to enjoy an unseasonably warm October day, ask yourself which of those two options will lift you up and feed your spirit.  The choice is yours.

“Pretend you are your own baby. Sometimes we have to be mother’s to ourselves.”

~Caitlin Moran

More and more, we are hearing the message that care-givers need to slow down. We need to nurture and nourish ourselves in addition to our children.  Our own wells must be so full that when we give, it is only from the over-flow.

We must stop this nonsense of giving to the point of depletion. Of giving to the point of total burn-out and exhaustion and anger. Being perpetually busy is not a badge we should wear proudly.

When I use to think of self-care it kind of annoyed me. How am I supposed to manufacture time (or money) for myself to achieve this self-care? Where do spa days, weekend getaways, and weekly massages fit in to my life? Well, they don’t.  But that’s not actually what self-care is.

Self-care is a series of small rituals that you integrate into every single day of your life.  It is a statement you make to yourself and your family that you matter. That you will care, quite literally, for yourself. That your needs cannot be postponed until things have calmed down (because spoiler alert, things will never calm down).

Self-care is not something that someone else can do FOR you. If you don’t take care of your needs, then you will go on indefinitely IN need. And that is an awful place to parent from.

Anything done without rushing and with intention is an act of kindness to yourself.  Making a cup of tea can be self-care when you do it right. If you can take a few minutes to sip that tea slowly, while sitting down (maybe even reading a book you love) you have achieved self-care. When you take the extra time to feed your body something nourishing or head off to bed when you actually feel tired, that is radical self-care.

Every morning, when I put on my 1000 roses day cream, I take 3 minutes to massage my face and just see myself in the mirror (sans judgement). I don’t rush through the process. I take the time to actually inhale that delicious floral scent. That simple daily task is like this little calming beacon for me. I don’t always want to do it though. Some mornings I have to force myself, and on those mornings, I am always so glad that I did force myself. Because the payoff of that little ritual is huge. It starts this tiny ripple of goodness in my day.

Maybe you can find 5 minutes to meditate, have a bath, or go for a quiet walk. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you feel invigorated by it. And it can’t be overly complicated or you won’t do it.  It may only take a slight shift in your perspective, to take something that you consider a chore (like putting on moisturizer), and turn it into a ritual, just for you.

We lavish such care on our children and rightly so. But those children will grow up one day and repeat the martyrdom that we have modeled for them. Let’s show them, and ourselves, a sustainable place to parent from instead.

When there is a choice between doing another load of laundry or sauntering outside to enjoy an unseasonably warm October day, ask yourself which of those two options will lift you up and feed your spirit.  The choice is yours.

Kid Friendly Nut Butter Energy Bites

This recipe has become a staple in my home over the last few years. They are perfect snack to have around, especially when 3pm (or the hungry hour) hits. We make these once a week and they are so tasty and healthy. Every kid I have ever given one to has loved them, so what more do we need to say?

I have lately upgraded some of the ingredients to make these even more jam-packed with super nutritious ingredients. You can easily substitute your favourite ingredients with an almost guaranteed success. The only thing I ever added that did NOT taste good was protein powder, so do what you will with that information.

Recipe:

  • 3/4 cup nut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed powder
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp cacoa nibs
  • 2 tbsp superfood powder of your choice: maca/mesquite /barley grass juice/moringa
  • 4 tbsp mini chocolate chips
  • Coconut for dusting

Directions:

  1. Mix nut butter, honey, cocoa powder, and vanilla in a medium bowl.
  2. Stir in dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. Roll into 1 inch balls and then roll onto a plate of shredded coconut (makes 16-20).
  4. Store in the fridge and enjoy 🙂