Summer empties into Autumn this week. Adolescence brings a kind of autumn, too, when we wave goodbye to the summer of childhood and face/dive/slink into being a teen. Some books convey this elusive autumnal tone better than others. Several young adult novels I’ve read recently do it magnificently, namely, Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente.
As I mention in my review of Bitterblue, growing pains stretch Queen Bitterblue until finally she can encompass even her own broken heart. Valente’s hero, September, has her own plethora of doubts and growing pains along the way as she circumnavigates Fairyland. Bitterblue and September would have been fast friends and allies. They deal with what they’re dealt, even as they grieve what they must leave, particularly their old, simpler ways of seeing the world. As we go into the autumnal season of Change, may each of us do the same.
Are you a teen? Were you? Do you remember daydreaming in high school? My friend Caitriona Reed recommends to her grown-up clients that they spend time actively daydreaming everyday. I used to daydream in algebra class.
Now I daydream in other contexts besides sitting still. I do it sometimes on a road trip, sometimes as I write my Morning Pages, sometimes as I take my walk up Sunset Mountain in the evening. The shape of my daydreaming times varies, but it always helps me, as Caitriona says, remember who I am. She says to “focus just enough to be in a positive emotional state, free of anxiety, relaxed, joyful, and then let your imagination just drift where it will.” Remembering who I am this way, I sense a larger picture of myself than the more limited one I usually carry – a self who can do anything and be anything! You know this if you’re a teen. Even if you’re not, you can still practice daydreaming yourself into new dimensions, where obstacle-free-thinking (as another friend, Pat Conway, calls it) lets you try on what might be. Go there! We need each other to go there. We need each other to find creative ways to live large and make our beautiful world work for everyone.
There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift, that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold onto the shore.
They are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.
Know that the river has its destination.
We must let go of the shore, push off into the river, keep our heads above water.
At this time in our history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves.
For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over.
Gather yourselves. Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.”
Message from the Hopi Elders
“These three rivers — anguish for our world, scientific breakthroughs, and ancestral teachings — flow together. From their confluence, we drink and we awaken.”