The Honesty of November

What can a month teach you?

There’s a small window of time each year that I quietly look forward to. It’s the time when gone are the spectacular fireworks of the fall foliage, when the last leaves on the oaks and maples have finally found their way to the ground below. The bitter cold of winter’s chill has yet to arrive, but we are reminded that it is on its way.

November.

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for November. It was a great companion for me during the frustrating and challenging early years of self discovery. I’ve taken comfort in it’s greyness, it’s absence of color. I’ve felt it’s isolation. I’ve heard it’s silence. I’ve stared into November and have felt November staring back into me. November served as the perfect backdrop for the monochromatic scenes of my then-unenlightened life.

TRUTH My evolution and growth have taken me many places, and along the way my Novemberian view of myself has been replaced with far more vibrant hues. But I still know what November feels like, and that gift has enabled me to better appreciate what it is I have finally grown into.

I still look into November, and what I now see in the greyness is something very beautiful.

I see the Truth.

The four seasons bring with them their own color schemes. We are treated to a full spectrum of color throughout the year. The snows of winter cover the world in a blanket of white, which leads to the greening of spring, the brightness and blue skies of summer, and, finally, the harvest coloration of yellow, orange, and brown in the fall. But the palette of November is honesty.

NOTHING TO HIDE As I write these words, I am in the shadow of a huge oak tree. It stands before me striking a humble yet majestic pose. All the leaves this tree had birthed earlier in the spring now rest at its feet. It’s branches raised up in praise and open to all possibilities. Underneath the distraction and excitement of the colors of the seasons, what is left is what actually is.

There is nothing to hide behind in November. After the foliage facade is gone, all that remains is its honest self. The barren branches. The crooked limbs. The weathered bark.

In our air-brushed Photoshop’d world something described as barren, crooked and weathered couldn’t possibly be considered beautiful. Our culture has outsourced the very meaning of beauty as we allow the forces of advertising, entertainment, and fashion to define it for us. They establish their ever-fluid benchmark that a vast majority feel a need to live up to in order to validate their own beauty, forgetting that their real beauty is timeless and requires no external validation at all.

ALREADY BEAUTIFUL The transparency of November reveals Nature’s permanence. It reminds us that underneath it all lies a genuine soulfulness and strength that transcends the fleeting colors of the seasons. Within all its rawness there is an innocent vulnerability. But Nature doesn’t concern itself with illusions of vulnerability. It has nothing to hide and nothing to prove. Perfect and content exactly as it was created.

If you look closely into the eyes of the world, you’ll see so many people striving to be what it is they think they need to be. Facades are constructed, masking their true selves from the view of others, fearful that their true selves just aren’t good enough, just aren’t beautiful enough. They recolor their worlds and hope that they will become beautiful according to this week’s definition of what beauty is. In their attempt to become beautiful, they abandon the place where they were already beautiful, were already far more than good enough.

For me, November is a sacred space of introspection. It’s a time when I am reminded to look past my own facades and reconnect with my authentic self. It is a time when I rediscover my own permanence. It is a time when I embrace my own asymmetrical nature and remind myself that there is nothing to hide and nothing to prove. And with this introspection I am once again humbly empowered in accepting the perfection found within my own creation, regardless of the season.

Living Half Full means taking the time to rediscover your own honest self. Let the honesty of November inspire you to look deep inside and see once again who you’ve always been. Your truth has always remained within you.

Reconnect to your own soulful permanence, and with it the strength to transcend all things temporary.

It’s a great day to be you!

(This post originally published 11/23/10)

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