“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.” – William Cullen Bryant

The first day of fall 2015 was September 23. The Autumnal Equinox, symbolizing the balance of light and dark, the end of summer with its whisper of winter on its way. The air mercifully cooling, brown, gold and red leaves coloring the gray sidewalks signaling the passage of time, pumpkin flavored  food items flooding every store and coffee house. The beauty of fall light is, indeed, a lovely last smile marking the beginning of another year’s departure.

It is a time when we may reflect on the quality of balance in our lives.  Balance is a term, a theme, frequently bandied about in conversation, in print and in online discussion groups. It’s a big topic in pretty much everything to do with life as a woman … Am I with my kids enough? … Am I reaching my potential in my work? …  Work/life balance seems an endless struggle.  Men struggle with the balance of time with and for others and time for themselves. Now that I think of it, these issues are a bit gender fluid. We modern folks with our myriad number of technological buddies are all complaining about the difficulties of living a balanced life.  The days and months pass, the seasons change … we’re tired.

When you are dealing with cancer you find yourself struggling to balance your life between being a patient and a person who has another identity separate from someone who is ill. For those of you in treatment, life can be swallowed up in appointments, tests, treatments, and all the other aspects that accompany a cancer diagnosis. Finding balance during this time is intensified …  you’re really tired.

I’d like to encourage you to carve out some space (perhaps with a pumpkin by your side) to BE with yourself and contemplate how you are feeling balance in your life and within yourself this fall.

Take a moment to reflect

Spend time in nature

Take some quiet time

BE rather than DO

Ask yourself how you feel about the balance of work, play and creative time in your life

For those of you with cancer, take some time to remember who you are beyond your illness