10 ways to flourish this fall

Silver Falls State Park, © Given Photography 2018

Fall is my favorite season for many reasons. The gorgeous autumn colors, cool nights, and warm crisp days make it easy to be outside. I find myself naturally nesting and clearing inside and out. Insight and clarity seem to come easily, maybe because the busy summer months have slowed down and I take more time for reflection. And I always seem to find some area around the house to clear out--whether it's in the house or outside in the garden, the action symbolically helps me make room for personal growth. Exactly what the fall season is all about.

Here are a variety of ways for you to celebrate fall and maybe get a little clarity along the way.

1. Make it a season for change. The fall season holds a wonderful energy that helps shed the old and prepare for the new. You see evidence of this everywhere in our natural world. Take some time to reflect on what you would like to change or create in your life. It can be as simple as taking your dog for more walks or complex as moving to a different place. The secret is to set the intention first. Write it down. Then take small, consistent daily actions toward whatever you want to change. Know that you are doing your best. Act as if you've done enough and watch your results grow. (Remember to plan the most enjoyable path to your goal.)

2. Plant something. According to every nursery owner I've talked to, fall is an excellent time to plant. You'll find great bargains at nurseries this time of year with full selections of perennials and lots of other ideas for fall planting. The soil is warm so plants have plenty of time to establish roots before winter. Consider planting shrubs that will feed the birds through winter such as serviceberry. Plant Coral Bells, conifers, or grasses for color in your garden all winter long.  

3. Take a walk around your neighborhood with the kids. Look for signs of fall near your home. Ask your kids to find plants that still have flowers and seeds. Then look for trees with leaves that are changing color or dropping. Look at the distinct shapes of leaves. Gather a few to rub in a journal or trace later for fun. Are birds around? See if you can identify them. Look at the sky. What color is it and what are the cloud patterns. You get the idea...note as much detail as possible and revel in the beauty of it all. Your kids will love it. 

4. Visit a farmer's market. I've written about farmer's markets many times here in the Journal because it's such an enjoyable thing to do any time of the year. Autumn market stalls are not only loaded with the late summer harvest, the colors and smells are incredible. An absolutely wonderful way to spend a weekend morning. 

5. Make a big pot of scratch soup. Everyone deserves healthy, delicious meals. Tap into the nourishing bounty of your veggies from the market to create a delicious pot of hearty soup. This is an easy, satisfying thing to do, even for those who are kitchen challenged. Think of it as creating a flavor of love! 

6. Drink beer. Help craft brewers celebrate the hop harvest by quenching your thirst at a tasting room or joining one of the many brew festivals happening right now. My favorite--pumpkin beer. Even purists love these thick, spicy, malty ales. What's your favorite?

7. Take a hike. Fall hiking is one of the most spectacular, mood-boosting activities you can do. This time of year, lush green forests are laced with brilliantly colored hardwoods such as maple, birch, cottonwood and aspen. And the yellow needles of tamarack (eastern U.S.) and larch pine trees (western U.S.) will stop you in your tracks. Here in the northwest early to mid-October is your best bet for beautiful color.

8. Take a fall drive. An absolutely tried and true way to get your fall foliage fix. Be sure to stop along the way to immerse yourself in the earthy smells and colors. Stomp through some leaves, sit on the ground or take photos with your phone for a lovely look back later in the week.

9. Meditate in nature. My niece, Morgan Elizabeth, has created several free short guided meditations to help you transition through change. One of her most recent guides you through an imaginary storm that is helpful if you have challenges, obstacles or feel stuck in your life. Check it out. Journey Through the Storm Meditation

10. Visit Yellowstone National Park. I know...this is big, so I saved it for last. Maybe a little too late to plan for this year, but it is one of the most gorgeous, awe inspiring, breath-taking fall vacations you will ever take. I've done it many times and it never ceases to amaze me. The days are crisp and clear. Brilliantly colored aspens set against blue-blue skies. Frost covered bisons snorting clouds of puffy breath. Steaming geysers. Rutting bull elks corralling their big harems. Non-existent crowds. Incredible wildlife and scenery. Just to give you a hint of what's to come...one morning I crawled out of my tent to find that I was surrounded by several rutting bull elk with about a dozen wildlife photographers snapping away. Awesome!

Here are 7 more ways to make the most out of fall

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Enjoy your fall!