FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT
Autumn(Fall) is one of my favorite times of the year. The change of season from Summer to Fall is marked by changes in nature. The temperature begins to cool down and the leaves begin to change from green to bright beautiful colors of red, yellow, and orange! Fall also makes me think about the concepts of change and transformation. Change and Transformation that are observed both in personal and environmental spaces of a person’s life. I read an article about the Seven Symbolic Meanings of Autumn by Kirsten Nunez (2016). The article focuses on how to embrace change that comes with the Autumn season. In the article, she talks about what she learned about the Seven Symbolic Meanings associated with the Autumn Equinox. She talks about Autumn as a time for self -reflection, change, and reconnection. The Seven Symbolic Meanings identified in the article are:
Heraclitus, the Greek Philosopher, is referenced for the first symbolic meaning of Autumn(Fall) which is Change. Heraclitus stated that “The only constant is change”. Fall reminds us that our minds, bodies, and surroundings are always changing. We experience this as we begin to observe the changes in nature in Fall. The temperature begins to cool down and the leaves on the trees begin to change from green to bright colors of red, orange and yellow! Since change is constant, it is a good reminder to us to embrace experiences as they happen. It is important to embrace them in the present. Life is short and we do not know what it will bring to us from minute to minute. Mystery is described as the outcome that comes from the day to day changes in Life. Change in life brings on new mysteries. I like to view the new mysteries as new opportunities in life. Preservation is the third symbolic meaning in the article. Fall represents the preservation of life and its basic necessities. The author discusses that during Fall, animals begin to store food and find safe places for hibernation for winter. Farmers begin to harvest crops for food for the winter. As the weather begins to change(falling temperatures), we tend to spend more time in the safety and comfort of our homes. This is a good time for us to reconnect with ourselves. As Summer switches to Fall, we focus on Protection. Protection is viewed from a physical lens. We begin to dress in warmer clothes to protect ourselves from the cooler temperatures and focus more on taking care of ourselves so that we do not get sick. The fifth symbolic meaning of Autumn is Comfort. As the temperature drops, we tend to look for ways to find comfort within our homes. This is a good time to reflect on what makes us happy and what makes us feel safe. Balance is the next symbolic meaning of Autumn in the article. Day and night are the same length during the Autumn Equinox. Ancient cultures associated the Autumn Equinox with the concept of Balance in life. During Autumn, the author describes us harmonizing with the earth and drawing from the balance within ourselves. The last symbolic meaning of Autumn in the article is Letting Go. When we look within ourselves, what can we let go?
Although the article focused on the 7 Symbolic Meanings of Autumn (Fall), I thought about how these meanings can be integrated within social work practice. As social workers, we deal with change and transformation on a daily basis. We are skilled in dealing with social issues on the micro and macro levels to help people who are often seen as “invisible” or “voiceless” in society.I challenge you to think about the concepts of Change; Mystery; Preservation; Protection; Comfort; Balance; and Letting Go, and how you integrate these concepts into your social work practice as you help others and how do you integrate them within your personal life as a social worker.
By Dawn Shelton-Williams, MSW, LCSW