I'm sitting at my vintage secretary style desk from the late 1800s, sipping from a fall themed mug and writing.
I was able to get off work a little early to enjoy the crisp air and the golden late-afternoon sunlight. It is a sweet gift. Earlier in the kitchen, I played with my herbs. I think I'm on the brink of a new tea blend--a pinch of alfalfa, an even bigger pinch of chamomile, a smidge of fennel seeds, and two or three calendula buds. I let these healing herbs mingle in hot water and savor the earthy sweetness of the blend.
I love quiet moments in the kitchen, tinkering with a new soup recipe or tea blend or body butter. I love snuggling in my jammies and reading a good fantasy novel at night (yes, with a cup of tea). I love crafting and will literally coat just about anything in glitter if left unsupervised. I love carving out time in my day to relish these simple pleasures of self-care and domestic bliss--not an easy feat considering that a teacher's job can easily go on and on and on....if I let it.
But I don't. Why? Because I believe in the power of self-care and enjoyment to make the workday smoother, the weeks bursting with the fullness of living a balanced life. Yeah, it can be hard sometimes to carve out that time, but it's worth the effort.
I'm turning these thoughts over in my head as I reflect on the bounty of this year's harvest moon or the full, golden moon that hovers in this sky every autumn equinox. Legend has it that the harvest moon is a beacon of abundance for the coming year, symbolizing the plenty of both the literal farmer's harvest and the ephemeral harvest of spiritual well-being that comes from living a balanced life. It is the moon of transitional energy, shifting away from the outward moving cycles of summer towards the inward, more contemplative activities of fall and the coming winter.
This year's harvest moon is especially important to me, as it was under this prophetic moon that I made an important transition myself. Overworked, sick (first a cold, then allergies), I found myself completely spread thin between adjusting to my first full-time teaching job and attempting to keep my tutoring business afloat. I loved both jobs dearly, but somewhere between a bowl of chicken noodle soup and struggling to grade my first round of student essays, I realized something: these wonderful opportunities were beginning to feel like horrible burdens as I attempted to give 110% to both things, which is saying nothing of my desire to have an actual personal life.
It was clear something had to change. When I first moved back to New Mexico, it was so I could teach and live a full life in the Land of Enchantment. Yet here I was, living the frantic life of my graduate school years: too much work, too little self-care. When I was in school, I didn't always have a choice about my workload, but now, I realized, I did. So I made a change--I let my tutoring go. It was hard at first to give up something I had spent so much time and energy bringing into the world, but as the weeks went by, I felt better, was happier teaching, and found myself with more delicious moments when I could stare out at the Sandia Mountains and just breath. After all, so much of my philosophy as an educator is centered on helping students find that proper balance between school, life, and work...so I have to practice my creed if I want to continue being a nourishing educator and happy person.
I am grateful for this harvest moon and the wisdom it offered me as I made my transition: it taught me that to find that joyful abundance of our lives, we have to let go of things that no longer serve our sense of personal well-being. In doing so, we create space for healthier, more productive ways of going about our lives.
It isn't always easy to find balance in your life, but if you take the time to pause, even just to linger over the golden sunlight filtering through the slowly turning leaves, there is everyday wisdom and enjoyment to be found.
Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational collection of musings touching on life’s simple pleasures, everyday enchantments, and absolutely delectable recipes that will guarantee to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe here.