So, Harvest is coming up: the autumnal equinox, Sept. 21. And all the usual seasonal meanings apply, of rich harvests and abundant fruits and vegetables and celebration of all the wonderful things that have come to us in the passing year.
But there is a second meaning of Harvest. It is the moment at which the night and day are equally long: a moment of balance between darkness and light.
And at times like these, the idea of balance is hard to find. So much turmoil in the world, so much insanity in the political sphere, and the Earth’s climate itself spinning out of control.
And yet, we must.
I think of the “balance Sabbaths”, Harvest and High Spring, as times to calibrate the ways I’m spending my life. How much energy and time am I devoting to my relationship, to my job, to myself, to my spirituality, my creativity, my community? Is that formula feeding and energizing me, or is it depleting me?
This question is especially important to me because I live with the constant threat of falling out of remission into depression. If I’m being sucked dry by my investments of time and energy, it’s time to change things.
Now, sometimes life demands heroic effort. Parents of young children, for example, have to just bear it, and hope that the happiness they receive from having them balances out the tremendous energy and time cost required to raise them. I’ve worked on organizing efforts and political campaigns that, for limited time spans, have required every drop of juice I had available.
But it is worth asking the questions: what is missing from my life? What is asking more of me than I feel I can give? And, to the degree possible, to make adjustments. Harvest is a great time to make that assessment.
The year will only stand in balance for an instant, but that moment gives us an opportunity to reflect and adjust. To live better.