Autumn is all about Letting Go
Autumn is the time of year we learn more about ourselves, perhaps, than in any other season. Having provided the harvest, Nature now makes everything bare. In this season Nature lets go of its abundant creation of the past year in a grand final display. Autumn marks the end of the growing season – a turning inward, a falling away of outer-directed energy.
The energy of this season, more than any other, supports our letting go of the waste, the old and stale in our lives, leaving us receptive to the pure and new, granting us a vision of who we are in our essence. Autumn returns us to our essence, moves us to eliminate what we no longer need, reveals again what is most precious in our lives.
In Chinese medicine, autumn is the season of the element Metal (or air). Grief is the emotion of the Metal element. We all experience loss, separation, and “letting go,” and we appropriately feel grief at those times. Grief cleanses us of what is no longer needed in our lives. When the energy of Metal is blocked or imbalanced within us, our expression of grief likewise becomes imbalanced and inappropriate. It may be excessive and ongoing. Or, in the other extreme, it may be absent, as in those who cannot express their grief.
The Colon and Letting Go
The Colon, one of the two organs in the Metal element, has the function of eliminating what is unnecessary or toxic from our bodies. But we are more than just physical bodies. Think of the daily onslaught of “garbage” directed at our minds and our spirit. We need to eliminate mental and spiritual rubbish, lest our minds become toxic and constipated, unable to experience the pure and the beautiful that also surround us. The Colon function on the mental and spirit level enables us to let go of all this waste.
The Lungs and Inspiration
There is more to this season than “letting go” – it is also a time to take in the pure. The air in autumn takes on a new crispness. Think of waking up on a brisk fall day and filling your lungs with that clean, cool autumn air. The Lung, the other organ contained within the Metal element, enables us to take in the pure, the new. It grants us the inspiration of a breath of fresh air.
The Lung and Colon work together as a team, one taking in the pure, the other eliminating waste. If these organs failed to do their jobs, imagine what might result – certainly we might experience physical ailments of the Lung and Colon such as bronchitis, shortness of breath, cough, allergies, nasal congestion, emphysema, colds, sore throat, constipation, diarrhea, spastic colon, and abdominal pain.
But what happens to our mind and spirit if waste keeps building up and we are unable to take in purity? What does this look like? Instead of tranquillity and inspiration, spontaneity and freshness, we feel depression, stubbornness (inability to “let go”), isolation, negativity.
Staying Healthy in the Autumn
Working with a light anti-inflammatory diet for 5-7 days is a great idea. Be sure to bathe daily and brush your skin with a loofa sponge or dry brush to remove dead cells and to stimulate the clearing of toxins. Your skin’s health is important to the lungs, and its regular care will help general elimination. Exercise, with a good sweat, is great to facilitate skin and body cleansing before you bathe.
Diets are totally individual and related to your character, your activity, and the climate in which you live. In general, however, the autumn diet is based on the building principle from Late Summer. Crisp autumn weather is a good time for soup. Vegetable soup is a great treat and will you warm you all over. Add some root vegetables like carrot, turnip, onion and garlic to the stock, and simmer. Some greens like celery, dandelion, kale, watercress, or spinach can be added at the end of cooking. Let them steep. Sea vegetables like dulse, kelp, or nori seaweed can be used to flavor the broth. Seasoning like rosemary, cayenne, ginger , or your own favorites will give that special touch. Better yet, try making pumpkin or squash soup.
Meditation: Create Sacredness with Yourself
Your mind is your body’s transmitter and receiver. What is happening in your mind affects how you feel emotional and physically. Ancient wisdom tells us, “As above, so below,”and thus what you are experiencing in your head affects your physical body, and vice versa, as your body state affets the working of your mind. Take time each day to breath slowly and deeply. Allow the autumn air to energize and purify you. For issues you cannot resolve directly with others, or for old issues with yourself, write them on paper, being as specific as possible. Then burn the paper, symbolically releasing the content.
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