Autumn – Cleaning out, letting go, breathing deeply! ??
This is the season of harvest and of gathering in on all levels; a time to store up fuel, food, warm clothing; a time to study and plan for the approaching stillness of winter. Leaves are letting go, and fruits fall, seeds dry out, the sap of trees goes into its roots, the earth’s grasses turn lighter and drier and lose their deep green colour. Nature will now be making everything bare after the grand final display of Autumn. Energy is turning inwards to nurture and protect through the winter months.
It is a time to let go, both in nature and within ourselves; trees do not stubbornly hold onto leaves, yet many of us defy this natural letting go and hold on to old negativity. This season supports our letting go of waste, the old and stale within our lives. We are now getting ready to receive the new and fresh things to come. Many of us find it is a great time to have a clear out at home, and many find it is a time to eliminate what we no longer need.
In Chinese medicine Autumn is the season of the element Metal and grief is the emotion of this element. Everyone experiences loss, separation and letting go in their lives. If the energy of Metal is blocked, or the energy of the organs associated with Metal (Lung and Large Intestine) are not strong we may experience repressed grief, congested lungs, slow digestion; we may hoard unnecessary possessions and hang on to negative feelings and grudges. Some of us can experience prolonged grief and sadness. Lungs can feel dry and we can experience sinus problems, frequent colds and dry rough skin. This can lead to tension and exhaustion and our energy is more depleted. When the Metal element is imbalanced we cannot see our self-worth and value and might look for it in status, wealth or power but remain unfulfilled.
When lung and Large intestine are strong and showing signs of vitality we can look within, let go of bad feelings; release the rubbish bombarding our brains, the bad relationships and objects that are no good for us. We can feel sorrow and process it, share feelings and allow them to dissipate; we can take long deep breaths and have soft lustrous skin and glossy hair. We can feel full of energy and vitality and allow ourselves to stay warm, nurtured and well fed. We can avoid coughs and sneezes and sore throats and stay rested and healthy. When Metal is strong we can receive good energy and vitality and feel valued and content.
We can strengthen the Metal element, Lungs and Large intestine through Autumn by eating more wholesome foods like soups. Barley, rice and pumpkin are good foods to eat; fennel, garlic and ginger are good herbs to eat. Foods that are easy to digest and will not form mucous can strengthen the Lungs and Large Intestine. Food should be cooked or stewed if possible as raw food adds cold and makes more work for the Intestines.
Acupuncture can help move our energy into each season and can help the body get rid of the after effects of coughs, colds and flu. Enjoy late Autumn and its glorious colour, Halloween and Bonfire Night. We can look forward to the Winter, the end of all the seasons with its time of rest and introspection and nurturing oneself on a deep level, with its cold silent months and warm hearty soups! (Rachel Stocker, Acupuncturist)