One of the pleasures in life for me is being able to enjoy the beauty of where I live and I enjoy walking around the area. A favourite walk is along the river to Richmond and beyond towards Kew and back. It gives me time to see, hear and be part of the world I live in and enjoy that connection. Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed the subtle but clear changes that show that we’re heading into Autumn.

The changing colour of leaves to the hues of red and brown, the fall of acorns and finding ‘conkers’ on the ground, newly released and shining with a wooden intensity, a marvel in themselves. As I pick them up and examine them I am reminded of childhood days. I know what’s happening – as I find things my mind automatically goes into pattern matching mode and brings back connected memories and feelings. For me these are largely positive so I welcome the slight chill in the morning air, the darkening of the mornings and I enjoy it.

But what happens if you have connections to Autumn that aren’t so positive? Perhaps something that you feel was negative happened to you around now? Maybe a close relationship ended badly and you associate that experience with this time of year and it’s those thoughts that come to mind. The result is that you don’t enjoy the beauty of what you see but are reminded of the pain. Pattern matching works in both ways.

Of course it’s not just Autumn; it can be anything, a situation at work, intimacy in a relationship, first dates, public speaking – it’s not what it is, but what relationship we have to it and what we have connected to that event.

It’s easy to say that it’s just the way we are. We all too often see the world through the lens of our past, but we are not fixed and just as a connection was made then a connection can be reframed. And then you’ll be able to go on that first date, or enjoy the intimacy of a relationship, or perhaps, simply enjoy finding conkers under that spreading horse-chestnut tree.