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Rev. Vicky Elder's Message November 4, 2021

First, I want to thank Rev. Michelle, Denise, and our UMB Platform Team for the rich and meaningful October services that have just concluded. I know you were all blessed by Rev. Michelle’s series based on the book, The Five Invitations, which revealed there is much to be gained from maintaining an ongoing awareness of our own mortality, the truth of the impermanence of life.

As you read this – I will be packing for my trip home from Cincinnati where I enjoyed my 12th Halloween (9 in Ohio, 3 in Kentucky) with my daughter Bri and family (Salvador, Mateo, and Joaquin)… making my grandsons’ costumes, baking my signature shortbread Halloween cookies, and helping with various household projects – while enjoying the visible and physical change in seasons that we so often miss in California.

As I prepare to come home, I’m having some bittersweet feelings – as this may be my last Halloween in Northside/Cincinnati, Ohio - where I have to say Halloween is a huge, delightful, family/community custom – so I can begin some new traditions with my newest grandchild, Rory Rose (and her coming brother) right in my own backyard.

It's hard to escape the metaphor the changes of autumn offer as an invitation to us all to embrace life’s inevitable transitions – with all their layers of blessings, challenges, and growth. And so I offer these 5 Tips to make the most out of Autumn’s gifts. (adapted from

1. Transition towards stillness

While both Spring and Fall represent seasons of obvious change – Fall clearly creates a quieter kind of transition, as we start slowing down and preparing for winter.

Start creating more space in your schedule for you time. Plan a few less social outings. Designate specific time for quiet practices that will help you move inward. Things like meditation, journaling, or spending a few minutes at dawn just sitting in nature. These kinds of activities will help your body ease off the loud energy of summer and prepare for the still, tranquil energy of winter.

2. Let the change come to you Unlike spring, when actively pursue change and push ourselves forward, autumn is a time for stepping back and letting the change come to us.

Instead of seeking out opportunities, open the door, sit back, and let the change come to you. Fall’s change is less about embracing new and more about letting go of the old.

3. Practice the art of letting go In spring, we watch the buds bloom into flowers. In autumn, we watch the green leaves turn red and begin to fall. To live in harmony with the seasons, we must follow nature’s lead.

Autumn is the time to re-evaluate what things we are holding onto that we know longer need. It’s a time to shed the old habits and patterns that no longer serve us. It’s a time to release, relax, and make more space in our lives for those things that matter most.

4. Stay grounded in your roots As the cool autumn winds blow through, it is important to find our roots. Transition, especially during the season of letting go and saying goodbye, can be incredibly difficult. To face these changes with an open, accepting heart, we need to feel supported and safe.

Turn to the ones who love you unconditionally; find safe spaces where you can relax and be with your thoughts; dedicate time explicitly for self-care. The more grounded you feel in yourself and your community, the easier it will be to let go of that which is no longer serving you.

5. Seek out things that nourish No matter how you look at it, letting go can be a painful process. The season of change is inspiring and beautiful, but it can also be hard. So, make sure to take care of yourself.

Eat warming, nourishing foods. Take baths, cuddle with a blanket, re-read your favorite book, spend time with your loved ones, or go for a hike on a tree-filled path. Whatever nourishes you, gravitate toward that. Fill yourself up so that you are in a good, safe place to let the rest fall away. To handle change with grace and acceptance, we must make time for nourishment.

We’ve all had a couple of years of dramatic changes and transitions. As we enter this sacred season that prepares us for yet another opportunity for rebirth – I give thanks for our UMB community that continues to co-create a nurturing, safe, and inspiring home where we know we are accepted, loved, and supported as we continue to grow into our true spiritual potential.

It’s good to be home…

Many Blessings,

Rev. Vicky


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