welcome back, dear autumn.

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tonight is special. it is the autumn equinox. or in other words, fall begins tonight in the northern hemisphere. and i just love fall. but, before i get all wrapped up in the coziness and beauty of autumn, i want to pause today to let the equinox energy do its thing.

what i’m talking about is the fact that with the autumn equinox, nature is in balance. from the beginning of summer until today, the days have been longer than the night. after today, the reverse is true. the nights become longer. and the season of darkness creeps in.

for tonight, however, the light and the dark are equal. everything is in balance.

and this can mean a lot to our lives symbolically, if we take pause. as it is the middle of the harvest season, it is a time for celebration of all of the gifts of life. it is a perfect time to take stock and reflect on what has happened so far in life. it is a perfect time to be aware of the abundance we have received this year, not only in food, but in everything that we have experienced. and it is a time to plan and prepare what is needed for the next season in our lives. we can spend some moments, if we choose, on this autumn equinox night putting our lives in balance – focusing on remembering all that we have been given and preparing to let the season of darkness and coziness inspire us to go even further than we have in the past. it’s a time to finish up our old projects and begin to plant seeds for new ones. it is a time to celebrate and balance our life.

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so, i decided to spend some time, on this absolutely gorgeous day in the north carolina mountains, by myself. thinking, reflecting, and enjoying nature.

i headed over to a bar that is kind of like a park. grabbed my camp chair out of my car, ordered a pint of beer, and went to sit by the river. i let the sun warm my face, the water and the trees inspire me, and the blue sky fill me with awe and gratitude. i did a few things i love: i took some photos, wrote a little in my journal, and meditated a bit. i only spent about 45 minutes there, but it was the perfect little break in my day – and the perfect opportunity to welcome this next season in the cycle of life.
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at home, i gathered some candles, got a pumpkin, and made a dinner from fresh, local veggies. i am in the midst of creating a cozy, warm space for the coming dark, chilly nights.

every time this season rolls around, i am always ready for it. i am ready for sweaters and boots and scarves. ready for deep blue skies and nights that nip at your nose. i can’t wait to slide on some fingerless gloves and wear beanie caps. i love lighting candles all over my home, and making chili + soup. and the leaves, of course the leaves on the trees in the mountains. it’s a breathtaking, beautiful, restful time of year.

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i hope that you will take some time over the next few days to let autumn (or spring if you are in the southern hemisphere) sink into your bones. i hope that you will find some peace and quiet, and feel the balance of the earth as nature moves on, reminding us that our lives move on too. and it’s time, my friends, time to let the summer (or winter) go – time to begin to move indoors and begin to let the long, sometimes difficult, but always amazing season of autumn (spring) inspire us.

peace + love.

ode to autumn.

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is there anything better in autumn than a cozy, chilly, rainy day at home? outside the leaves are all golden, orange, red, and brown. the clouds hang thick and low. it’s as if you can see the hibernation process happening, even if you don’t see any movement. everything feels sleepy. life seems to move in slow motion on these kinds of days. and home is where the heart is. there is no desire to go out and tackle anything.

the only thing that you want to do is light a candle or make some soup. get a blanket and read a book. begin to make christmas lists and thanksgiving preparations. yeah, inside is the place to be. and you’re thankful to not have to be outside in the messiness. or, if you’re out in it all, you’re dreaming of the moment when you come home and shed your layers, slip on your slippers, and pad about your abode finding the perfect place to settle.

but you’re also thankful that the cold, gray days exist. these are the days that water the earth. that prepare all of nature for winter. yes, they are the days that remind us that death is inevitable, but with that remembrance, comes also an awareness of the promise of new life again one day in the distant future.

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then again, there’s nothing like a brilliant, blue sky, bright sunshine, autumn day. the kind of day that energizes you and draws you outside like a magnet. the air is chilly in the shade. and the breeze makes it downright cold. but the sunshine, oh the sunshine, it warms your skin and brightens your mood. and the colors! those glorious autumn colors are so vivid and bright on these sunny days. you simply have to take a walk or a drive because it’s a sacrilege to stay indoors. these are the days that make you feel alive and hopeful. who cares that winter is around the corner because all that matters is the present moment. yes, autumn days filled with sunshine and color teach us the power of the present and remind us that to live in the present is to truly live.

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no matter the weather, though, autumn is beautiful. and the only way to truly soak up the season is to pay attention to it. inside or outside, this season passes along its wisdom about life and death. so, we simply must find a way to slow down. to observe. to listen. and to just be.758f97203b2d11e39ae722000aaa08f3_8

what’s your favorite thing about autumn? 

breathe in the colors of love and peace.

a balancing act in two parts.

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I call them photo journeys for a reason. It’s more than just taking a photo of a random word for a random day. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that here is always a theme for each month – something to help guide me… us. In addition, I try to let that theme build upon itself, culminating with a feeling of accomplishment, understanding, or enlightenment (or whatever you want to call it) at the end of the journey.

When I began planning October’s photo journey, I had no specific ideas. So, I just looked through my photos. Two stuck out to me, but I couldn’t decide which one I like better. So, I did what any social media addict would do… I turned to Instagram.

Since I had two photos and no way of deciding which one to use,  I challenged my Instagram to help me out by voting and suggesting words. And they did! However, in the end, there was still a problem: One of the photos had more “likes” and the other one had more word suggestions. What to do now?!

As I made a list of the words under their respective photos, it became clear to me that a theme had emerged, using both of the pictures: harmony and balance. The sky photo inspired words of otherness, out there, space, and mystery. The rock and feet photo inspired words of connectedness, humanity, earth, ground, and a path. When I saw this, I knew right away that these two photos were total contrasts, and yet, somehow linked to each other as well. Something I had no idea about when I simply randomly chose them. But it all made sense, looking at the suggestions and preferences.

In life, we need both. We need the mystery, the awe, the space, and the moments of negativity and dreams. We need to soak up the dreamy-ness of an evening sunset.

We also need to feel grounded and connected. We need to be present right here, right now. We need to be real, concrete, and daring. We need pure, human experience.

I have always believed from deep within my soul, that we need both. So, that’s what we’re gonna have this month. Both photos. Both feelings. Both parts of the journey of life. The spiritual, mystical, other-worldly moments and the spiritual, connected, practical, earthy moments. Because, to me, both are spiritual experiences. Spirit moves outside of us… in some other worldly, indescribable way. However, it is also very real and present in our everyday moments. For, when we turn inward or look upward, we realize that every single moment of very day life is infused with the sacred – if it wasn’t what would be the point? Wouldn’t life then be meaningless? But, each breath, each rock, each sunset holds the mystery of life.

So, for October, we are going to balance ourselves. We are going to experience the amazingness of the heavens and the sky and our dreams. And we are going to focus on the beauty of the present moment right where we are and slow down just enough to see that ordinary life is amazing too. I used both of the photos and split the month in half, so it’s kind of like two challenges in one journey. There is still one theme, but with two different mini-journeys. Hope you like it!

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The ways to participate are the same as always. But, if you’ve forgotten or if this is your first time participating, here are a few tips:

save the photo journey list(s) to your desktop or on your smartphone, so you know what the word is for each and every day. each of the word gives you something to focus on for those days. remember that it’s all about how you interpret the word. be creative and express yourself however you want!

here’s a link to instagram so you can sign up & get started! click here to join in.

and if you want to become part of the bllphotoaday community, just follow me at @lizslens on instagram. and use the hashtag #bllphotoaday when you post your IG photo. then, you’ll see everyone else’s photos too. and there are some amazing people taking part from all over the world. check ‘em out!

if you don’t have or don’t want instagram (which is totally fine!), then simply post your pics on facebook or on your blog. but, let me know, so i can follow along. i’ll do my best to spread the word that you are participating. however, the best way to create a photo journey community is actually on instagram. buuuuut, there is one more option… you can post your photos every day to belovelive’s facebook page! perhaps we can get that community growing as well! invite your FB friends to “like” belovelive’s page and then our community will spread even further & wider! think of all the inspiration! click here to go to belovelive’s page.

before i close i’d love to share my little september video with you all. it was a wild and glorious month! one of the best yet. there are no words really for how touching and fun and  amazing it was, so take a peek (click on the photo below to see the video):

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now, let’s get on with october! yay! hope you’ll be joining in!

camera’s ready? peace!