I think most of us feel like the beginning of September heralds a new year. It must be left over conditioning from returning to school every year, the day after Labour Day, when we were children. Some of us continue studying and taking classes long past childhood; I’m certainly one of those people. I look forward to the day when I can get a seniors discount on my tuition. Some schools still offer free tuition to seniors, but sadly many are phasing out this policy.

I love this time of year. I anticipate more evenings at home with a good book or a movie and my current knitting project. I get cook books from the library and plan meals around the bountiful harvests found at the markets. I revel in riding my bike in the cooler temperatures and arriving at my destination without being a sweaty mess. I think I can say without any hesitation autumn is my favourite season. I don’t even mind the coming rains.

Not only do I feel more comfortable physically in autumn, but I also tend to slow down and take stock of my life. I clean out my closets – both literally and metaphorically. Living with a chronic illness motivates me to continually check the pulse of my health. And by health I mean my body, mind and spirit. If I’ve learned anything on this journey with HIV it’s that we are complex beings and I am ultimately responsible for my own well being.

One of the exercises I rely on to heighten my awareness is meditation. Until very recently I couldn’t sit still long enough to get any benefit from meditation. I was always so fidgety. I could quiet my mind but the physical stillness challenged me deeply. Instead of fighting with my body I decided to take it along with the meditation and I adopted a Benedictine style of walking meditation. I have also found that walking a labyrinth and swimming laps takes me to that restorative space I can only find in meditation.

However in the last few weeks I felt a pull towards sitting still. Sit still? Surely not. Really? OK, I gave it a try. And I sat still for 5 minutes! That was a major breakthrough for me and I’m building on those 5 minutes. I can’t help thinking I can now sit still because I’ve “cleaned house” and I’m comfortable sitting inside my house, my head, my skin, my heart. My everything.

It is so very important for us to be comfortable in our skin and for the longest time I fought so hard against HIV and railed against a perceived injustice. The sorrow comes and goes, like the seasons. These days I am a leaf. I am a brilliant, fiery golden leaf, drifting slowly, gently, quietly to the soft, moist green earth. That is today.

This post was originally published by Positive Women’s Network.


being still