My intention is to blog once a season about Life Practices in order to share what I am practicing in my life, and to suggest opportunities to join me, as well as ideas to use in your own practice.

Autumn Equinox occurs midway between the longest day of the year, at Summer Solstice, and the longest night of the year, at Winter Solstice. It is called an Equinox from the Latin “equal” and “night,” but in reality, the equality of day and night is only approximate. In 2013, the Autumn Equinox occurs at 3:44 pm CT on September 22nd.

Autumn Equinox marks the noticeable giving way of the full, abundant light and energy of Summer to a slower, simpler season. We have much to celebrate with the harvest that Summer has produced—dreams and projects have been accomplished, blossoming flowers, bushes, and trees have nourished us with their beauty, and life has grown fuller and more verdant, bearing fruit. Now is the time to gather in and take stock of our harvest. What flourished and what failed? What bore fruit and what did not? What can we celebrate and what needs to be reassessed? And most of all, can we give way to things being exactly as they are?

Writer Edward Hays, in his prayer to Autumn, says “As a child of my culture, I am seldom truly at peace with what I have. Teach me to take stock of what I have given and received, may I know that it’s enough, that my striving can cease …” As we take stock of our harvest and prepare for the slower, more inward time of Winter, can we be at peace with what we have? At peace with our efforts and their outcome, even if it’s not quite what we had hoped? At peace with the fruition or lack thereof of plants and ideas cultivated? At peace, knowing that the time for striving and intense productivity has passed?

This is a time to honor ourselves and our efforts as well as to let go of that which is passing. It is a time to know that what we have done, what we are, is enough. To explore this transition more deeply, you can write in a journal, or try a short ritual alone or with friends. You may want to include the following:

  • Decorate with yellow, gold, or autumn colors;
  • Light a candle and sit quietly. Breathe in yourself sitting there, breathe in the candle, breathe in your feelings of the moment, and with each breath, say inwardly, “This is enough.”
  • Nourish yourself with bread, apple cider, nuts, squash, corn, or any local, freshly harvested food;
  • Reflect on your harvest, naming or making a list of each undertaking, and with each one, regardless of how it turned out, say inwardly, “This is enough.”
  • When you are done, sit quietly, placing your hands over your heart, and say three times inwardly “I am enough.” Breathe that in.
  • Say thank you and blow out the candle.

After the Autumn Equinox, the days slowly become shorter and shorter, until at Winter Solstice, we’ll be back to the longest night. Local Minnesotans, there will be no Autumn Equinox Celebration at Unity Unitarian Church until 2014—please plan to join us for the Winter Solstice this year. May you welcome and find grace in this changing of the seasons.

fresh life visionCollage as a Practice. I finally found time and inspiration to collage again! Yay! Fresh Living is a collage to celebrate my decision to go back to school to become a Holistic Health and Wellness Coach. It feels like a fresh start and a continuation of a way of living that I have been exploring for a good 35 years. Coming to this decision has been an amazing process of learning to listen to and follow my desire, something that is still developing in me…

How do you relate to your desire? Do you listen? Do you follow what you hear? What do you learn from your desire?

instinctual body2.1Harvesting, Celebrating & Taking Stock: A Half-Day, Summer Women’s RetreatAlign yourself with the seasons, a Feminine form of spiritual practice. Autumn invites us to slow down, to gather in and take stock of our harvest, of our lives. What bore fruit and what did not? What can we celebrate and what needs to be reassessed? And how can we be satisfied with things just as they are? Listening to the wisdom of all three Centers—body, heart, and mind—we will engage in practices such as ritual, reflection, movement, and inquiry. No prior knowledge or experience is necessary.

Saturday, November 23rd from 1:00 to 5:00 pm in St. Paul. For more information, see our calendar.

Do you regularly take stock of your harvest? What does this look like in your daily life?

katy laughingLaughter as a Happiness Practice! Come explore the art of laughter to invite more joy, play, and wellbeing into your life! Because of the deep pranayamic breathing exercises, this form of practice is also called Laughter Yoga, but it does not include any physical asanas and can be practiced by people of all ages who are willing to be a little bit silly. It was started in 1995 by a family physician in India and is now widely practiced in over 65 countries around the world. Medical research supports its physical and emotional health-giving effects.

I am a Certified Laughter Yoga leader, and I lead the Summit Hill Laughter Club, which meets the 3rd Wednesday October – December 2013 at St. Paul Yoga Center: 10/16, 11/20, and 12/18 from 7:30-8:30 pm. No registration required, donations for use of the space accepted.

I am also partnering with WomanWell to offer Laughter Yoga on a Tuesday each month, starting on September 24th, from 7:00-8:00 pm, for $5. They are at 1784 E. Lacrosse Avenue (White Bear Ave/Lacrosse). To make sure this Laughter Yoga session is held, you need to register two days ahead of time and you can find directions here.

Please contact me if you have any questions—I would love to laugh with you!

How often do you really laugh? How do you consciously bring more happiness and joy into your life?

with azaleaThe Enneagram. Dave and I embrace the wisdom of the Enneagram as one of our many life practices, both as individuals and in our relationship. We are especially happy to offer these teachings to others, too!

We will be offering an Authorized Riso-Hudson Workshop this Fall: Journey of Growth (Levels) Workshop: Using the Enneagram to Develop your Soul, October 18-20, Friday evening through Sunday afternoon,  at WomanWell in St. Paul.

In this Workshop, we will explore how to use the Enneagram as a map for the growth and transformation of our souls. Harnessing the powerful transformational potential of the Levels of Development and the Direction of Growth for each type, we will learn to identify the triggers that send us into stronger type-reactivity, as well as how to “wake up” to greater Presence and freedom within our type. Includes presentation, meditation, music, poetry, experiential exercises, and practical recommendations for growth. Read more.

$250 earlybird or couple’s rate before September 30th, $295 after. Overnight rooms available onsite for an additional fee. For questions and registration, contact Katy. See our calendar for more offerings.

Rev Katy Blowing BubblesReverending/Ceremony. I absolutely love performing ceremonies that bring more honoring of our intentions and love into the world! This picture and the above laughing picture are from a wedding I performed, and I facilitate the Seasonal Celebrations at Unity Unitarian Church.

On July 28th I served as Worship Leader for Unity Unitarian Church, offering a service entitled What’s Up With the Goddess? You can read more and listen here.

I’ve performed two weddings this Summer and have two more to go—it’s such a blessing to help couples find a way to honor and celebrate their relationship! Let me know if I can assist you in honoring any transitions or special moments in your life—Weddings, Baby Blessings, Seasonal and Transitional Rituals, Memorial Services… You can read more about my practice of ministry.

How do you nurture your connection with the sacred? How do you find blessing in your life?

Bountiful Harvest Blessings, Katy Taylor, Wholeness Mentor