Dear friends — The season of Autumn calls forth gratitude for the gift of all that has grown and flourished before us, that we now reap and harvest and celebrate. The trees have accomplished their work of channeling sunlight into new growth and oxygen. Stripping leaves of greening chlorophyll allows dazzling oranges and crimsons and golden colors of joy to be revealed even as they approach the waning and falling cycle of their lives. And we honor those in the autumn of their days, elders who dazzle us with their open hearts and gentle ways and wise understanding of their power to act and also to let go. So too we remember those who have gone before us, ancestors whose lives and works still sustain us, whether we call this remembering the Day of the Dead or All Souls' Day. Perhaps this season is meant to teach us about embracing change, even death, all the while recognizing beneath the arrow of one's lifetime the sacred thread of continuity that anchors us in the greater cycle of Life.

Nothing escapes the Creator's cycle. Not plants, horses, trees, birds, or human beings. Each soul is a gust of God's breath unfolding in the great energy that surrounds us like an ever-moving stream. The goal is not to cheat death, but to live in the stream with a humility and aliveness that only acceptance of death can release...Thin and fragrant petals do not hide from the wind. They survive to die and break ground again. Even within one life, we shred and re-root. We break, bleed, and rearrange into yet another beautiful thing that learns how to reach. Resisting this process doubles our pain. Singing our way through, it is the source of wisdom and beauty.

~ from the BOOK OF AWAKENING by Mark Nepo
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You cannot step twice into the same rivers, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you.

~ Heraclitus of Ephesus
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Change is a fundamental element of consciousness. It is what calls our attention, awakens it, stimulates our questions. We see the red coat in contrast to the white snow... Without change, our minds become dull and unaware.

~ Anodea Judith in WHEELS OF LIFE
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After the loss of so many of my loved ones, and coming so close to death myself on several occasions, I now see death as a new beginning to learning and to loving rather than a waste, a destruction, or a suffering hardly to be endured. So often we forget that life is a gift and loved ones are special gifts lent to us from on High, for a time. We unite with the spirit of our loved ones through prayer and silence. If we reach out to the Author of love and ask for help to live without selfishness and to deepen our awareness and our compassion towards all others, then we can emerge from a sea of grief, from the inevitability of tragedy and the losing of love. It is essential to learn to laugh and love again.

~ from THE VOICE OF SILENCE by Oonagh Shanley-Toffolo
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There's a thread you follow. It goes among things that change. But it doesn't change. People wonder about what you are pursuing. You have to explain about the thread. But it is hard for others to see. While you hold it you can't get lost. Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; and you suffer and get old. Nothing you do can stop time's unfolding. You don't ever let go of the thread.

~ William Stafford
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Life and death,
a twisted vine sharing a single root
A water bright green
stretching to top a twisted yellow
only to wither itself
as another green unfolds overheard.
One leaf atop another
yet under the next,
a vibrant tapestry of arcs and falls
all in the act of becoming.
Death is the passing of life.
And life
is the stringing together of so many
little passings.
~ Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro
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Nothing is inherently and invincibly young except spirit. And spirit can enter a human being perhaps better in the quiet of old age and dwell there more undisturbed than in the turmoil of adventure...

~ George Santayana
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Like a river flows life, strong and deep and filled with fast little eddies. Letting go is part of life's definition, and receiving is part of letting go. We could, in security or comfort, cling to each bend in the river, hold on to each boulder along the way. We could shackle ourselves with old conflicts, or bind ourselves with past loves, wanting always to linger in familiar scenes along the way. But the river flows on. And the God of the river sweeps into our view new mysteries and holy places to hold us for a moment, then to see us safely on our way.

~ Melvin Woodworth, thanks to Carl Ritz
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Enjoy the seasons of life... Each season of life is wonderful if you have learned the lessons of the season before. It is only when you go on with lessons unlearned that you wish for a return...

~ Peace Pilgrim
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Our life has not been an ascent
up one side of a mountain and down the other.
We did not reach a peak,
only to decline and die.
We have been as drops of water,
born in the ocean and sprinkled on the earth
in a gentle rain.
We became a spring,
and then a stream,
and finally a river flowing deeper and stronger,
nourishing all it touches
as it nears its home once again.

~ from THE SAGE'S TAO TE CHING by William Martin
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Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.

~ Eskimo proverb
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All aspects of the universe are subject to constant change, continually moving in the direction of enlightenment. Change but provides the doorways through which all must travel to find true peace.

~ Meredith Lady Young in AGARTHA
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