Summer hasn’t quite ended yet, but the crispness of fall entered the air with the first September day. Those in forested regions will soon notice the leaves changing to display the burning red, orange and yellow colors that herald autumn’s arrival. This month’s mood is consciousness, which encapsulates introspection, contemplation, and mindfulness from the inside out. Consciousness, too, is about change – becoming aware of the changes you can make in your life, from everyday acts to major lifestyle shifts, that will improve the well-being of the people and the environment that surround you. In doing so, you can gain a sense of self and of purpose that manifests as positive change.
This mood is the core of Mood of Living: we are a magazine of conscious living, dedicated to sharing stories about people whose lives and work embrace what uplifts them and the world around them. We encourage you to do the same finding what engages you in order to live a meaningful, mindful life. However, it is equally important to be conscious of how your everyday choices affect others and the earth. Small acts of consciousness can include buying sustainable products, saying a kind word or doing a small favor for a friend in need, or doing volunteer work for an organization whose mission you support. Consciousness is recognizing the needs of yourself, others, and the world around you, and addressing them. Take action and use your voice and talents to improve your environment – even the smallest act of outreach can inspire others to collectively make a great difference.
A flavorful meal with in-season foods can indulge your awareness of all your senses. Barefoot Contessa’s Herbed Pork Tenderloins with Apple Chutney embraces ingredients like brown sugar, thyme, and ginger for a taste and aroma that are distinctly autumnal. In the spirit of apple-picking season, you can use self-harvested apples for an extra-fresh chutney. The sizzling of the pork, the half-sweet-half-savory smell of the chutney, and the mix of textures and flavors will heighten your consciousness of the sensorial experience of eating. Consciousness in regards to food, however, goes beyond your senses. It also refers to consciousness of what you’re eating and whether it’s healthy for you and the planet. For many, this means forgoing meat, and Food52’s Creamy Vegan Parsnip Soup is a great, sustainable option to warm you up as the weather cools down. Even non-vegans can enjoy the simple blend of parsnips, beans and seeds, and modify it with their personal taste in mind. A dessert such as Tori Avey’s Honey Apple Cake can top off a fall feast. It’s inspired by Jewish tradition, and the environmentally-conscious cook can easily make it vegan with an egg substitute such as flaxseed.
Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, preceding the official beginning of fall on the 23rd. The whole month of September is National Self Improvement Month, so you can also reflect on the work you’d like to continue to do on yourself – whether it’s taking steps to achieve a career goal, master a skill, or simply get more deeply in touch with your physical and mental health. It is also National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. Take note of the emotional and mental health of those in your life, actively promote awareness of the issue, and be sure to communicate with others in the kindest and most supportive way. A moment of somber reflection can also be taken on 9/11. Although we remain conscious of the effects this tragedy had on the nation, we can also be conscious of how our rhetoric and attitude can reflect a desire for greater peace. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, begins on the 29th. Even those who don’t celebrate this holiday can embrace its spirit of new beginnings by looking ahead with self-awareness at a fresh season of opportunity for growth and change.