Fast Wisdom™, the newsletter of my Holden Healing Studio practice.
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September, 2015
By Lonner Holden

Autumn Equinox:  Tipping Towards Shadow

Wild Bunny Scat  Earlier this month, I was on an early morning walk.  At the bottom of a trail, I came to a flat open area. Forest and brush covered hills surrounded this area on three sides; the fourth side was open to the Open Space trail head parking lot. Peering at the ground I was astonished at how many sites there were of fresh Brush Rabbit scat;  several of them still wet with urine stains - left perhaps around sunrise. The morning was warm already and, being in the sun, the urine would evaporate soon after being left. There must have been over a dozen small piles of M&M sized scat, not distributed along any distance, indicating the animals had been still when they relieved themselves, rather than while moving. And there was too much scat to have come from just a single animal.

The Alive Question  All this got my attention because rabbits are prey and you would think prey would be hiding in the brush and forest ground cover, not hanging out in the open, easy to see for the stalking Great Horned Owl, Bobcat, Grey Fox or Coyote. So why were these wild bunnies allowing themselves to be so visible in this particular configuration of terrain, foliage, and light and shadow? I continued on with the question remaining alive all day.

The Autumn Equinox  is the Earth’s orientation to the Sun as the exact midpoint between Summer and Winter; between the season of the most light and the season of the most darkness; between what is seen and what is unseen; between what is at the surface and what is at the core. This is a time when neither light nor shadow dominate, but are at peace with one another.

Light and Shadow are Equal  It is easy to think of the Autumn Equinox as a time when the shadows are getting longer, but in fact they were just disproportionately short during Summer.  Autumn Equinox is when, at about our latitude,  the shadows at precise midday are of equal length to the object that casts the shadow.  In winter the shadows become disproportionately long. So at Autumn Equinox what is in light is equally in shadow. This can be a metaphor for what is known is equal to what is not known; what is above the surface is equal to what is below.

The Soft Edge  This is the peace treaty of when light and shadow form the same soft edge which is both and is neither. The edge where certainty and questioning dance a Tango with both and neither leading. This is a good time when confusions and insecurities can be most accepted and least judged. A time when the confluence of energies that give rise to acceptance and forgiveness intermingle with the most ease.

The Freedom of Feeling Equal  There is perhaps no greater sense of peace and freedom than of feeling equal to oneself and feeling equal to others. We can more easily disclose the stories of what we know and what we don’t know as Siamese twins of learning and growing; entwined, yet individuated, too. Have you felt that gentle edge in yourself of safety and trust when you are most at ease hearing others express values and perceptions very different from yours - and yours being heard by them?

The Kiss of Grace  Autumn Equinox is a time that we can be reminded of all edges without aversion.  The edge where day and night, voice and listening, meadow and forest, shore and sea, touch and isolation, loneliness and trusted company, the divine and the human kiss through a shared veil. There is a grace that dwells in the intimacy of edges. When we rest there, where we are not attached to knowing or not knowing, we can be nourished by it.

Love the Questions  This season is a time to be reminded that we can trust our questions as much as we trust our certainties.  German poet Rainer Maria Rilke admonished his younger charge in his Letters to a Young Poet to “ patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves...”

What do You Think?  I awoke the next day with speculations about the Brush Rabbits hanging out in the open.  I just had to sleep on it - dream of being a wild bunny. Though I believe my suspicions have credence, the aliveness of the question was still greater than the static quality of resting on some probable answers. Could it be that the rabbits didn’t know themselves? But that would mean that Nature was disposed towards the accidental and the random.  Maybe, maybe not. What do you think?


  • What uncertainties may I have been avoiding - that attention to makes me feel anxious?
  • Which certainties do I feel the most protective of; which the least?
  • When is the last time I listened to someone I disagreed with without an aversion reaction?
  • How I may attach to an attitude of certainty at the expense of inquiring more deeply, and attach to an attitude of 'I don't know' at the expense of decisiveness.
  • What my sensations are when I am listening to another whom I disagree with; when I am being listened to by someone I believe judges my values and perspective.
  • How I feel when I am observing the world in a state of decisiveness; in a state of equivocation.
  • Listen to the news neutrally while suspending your political views.
  • Pretend that you are in shadow while you are silent and in light when you are speaking.
  • Is there something you might forgive yourself for, ask forgiveness for or forgive another for?

  • Gently hold your Right Index Finger with your Left Hand for one minute, then the Right Little Finger; switch to the Left Index Finger with the Right Hand, then Left Little Finger.  This balances Summer and Winter.
  • Gently hold your Left Ring Finger with your Right Hand for three minutes; then switch, holding your Right Ring Finger with your Left Hand.  This balances night and day, dark and light, and calms grief, softening attachment to what has been.
  • Gently hold the base of the Right Back of the Skull with the Right Hand and the base of the Left Back of the Skull with the Left Hand for five to twenty minutes.  This eases judgement and opens the doors of perception.
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  • Stand in the shadow of a tree with dense foliage and look out into the light.  Then go out into the light, turn around and look back into the shadow.  From which perspective do you see most clearly?
  • At midday on the Autumn Equinox (Wednesday, September 23rd at approx. 1:00 pm at San Francisco Latitude) go outside and stand in the sun. Face your shadow. Place a mark or a pebble at your heels. Note the end of the shadow of the top of your head. Place a mark/stone there.  Measure the distance between the two.  The distance should be very close to your height.
  • Take note that your shadow at midday on the Autumn Equinox will be falling due north of you.  You are looking into Winter, the time of darkness. Turn around 180 degrees and you will be looking due south, into the time of Summer, the time of light.
  • Ask yourself, "What are the animals doing now?"
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  • Snack on some nuts. Reflect on the nutrients that are offered from a place of shadow (the inside of the shell) generated by the light of the Sun.
  • Indulge in grapes and gourds. The perishable juicy fruits of Summer are coming to a close and the hearty vegetables of Autumn are maturing for harvest.

NEXT MONTH:  Grand Canyon:  River at the Top of the Mountain

PICK OF THE MONTH: Harvest Blood Red Super Moon September 27 -28 Total Lunar Eclipse about midnight.

  • Restorative Nature Practice™, Marin County: September 12, October 24
  • Marin County Tracking Club, Point Reyes: September 27, October 25th
See events on calendar »
November, 2014 Thanksgiving
December, 2014 Winter Solstice
January, 2015 Life Letters
February, 2015 The Heart
March, 2015 Spring Equinox
April, 2015 Prevention
May, 2015 Recovery
June, 2015 Summer Solstice
July, 2015 Plateau Power
August, 2015 Summertime

Fast Wisdom™ is the newsletter of my Holden Healing Studio practice.  Each issue explores a theme of living approached in the context of healing.  Included is a simple Jin Shin Juytsu® Healing Hands Self-Care exercise, as well as a Restorative Nature Practice™ activity to practice which relate to the newsletter theme of the month.  Nutrition and health tips too, so you can live a happier and more vital life infused with well-being, improved health and more effective and empowered recovery.

© 2015 Lonner Holden
Fast Wisdom™

Copyright © 2015 Holden Healing Studio, All rights reserved.

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