Late Summer is all about harvest, including what we have harvested in our personal lives. It is about enjoying the harvest and being generous to others. Moving into Autumn, we now take the time to reflect on the past year and contemplate, metaphorically, those ‘seeds’ we planted in our lives that have done well and those which have not. It is a time to appreciate one’s past decisions and activities that have been fruitful. We can also learn to appreciate the more challenging aspects of our past. Ultimately, we realize that we learn and grow from all aspects of our lives, regardless of whether they have fulfilled our goals, dreams, and wishes. When things need to change, we learn to not be so reactive and instead, to move into action for positive change. We learn to how to take appropriate action. In Autumn, we should be able to savor the sweetness of life and be thankful for what we have received and accomplished. It is truly a time of gratitude.
In Asian medicine, Autumn is related to the Metal element, and to the Lung and Colon meridians. The Metal element is also related to the heavens and our spiritual connections, as well as all the wonderful mineral and gemstones in our Earth. Metal is related to knowing what is essential in life. Both the lungs and the colon take in nourishing substances and let go of waste and what is harmful.
Conditions related to Metal imbalances might include a predisposition to various respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, or sinusitis. Other problems may include IBS, constipation, or issues concerning the skin, as the skin is considered the third lung in Asian medicine. Since grief is the emotion associated with the Metal meridian, inability to let go of old traumas is often found. The key virtue for Metal imbalances is to know when to let go! The key phrase for Autumn could be ‘discover what matters most and live it.’
Suggestions for honoring the autumn season
- Like the deciduous trees, practice letting go. Ask your self what possessions you have that you no longer need and gently let them go. Find them another home where they can be useful to someone else.
- Prune back your activities as we head towards the quiet of winter. Stop doing what no longer nourishes the soul. Create some empty space in which, in time, something new can grow.
- Breathe deeply, taking in the pure chi from Heaven. Try this exercise: take a breath, inhaling as deeply as you can, then try to pull in a little more air and hold it. Hold it until the lungs involuntarily release the breath and let all the air out, then push even more air out. Repeat this exercise three times. Notice how it feels to be full, and then how it feels to be empty. This joy is always available. It is a gift of Autumn, the element that rules the lungs!!
- Each evening, reflect on at least one wonderful thing in your life today. It may be watching a falling leaf, experiencing a kindness, or listening to the song of a bird. Write a few words about one of these experiences to deepen your awareness and gratitude.
- We all have habitual perceptions, fears, moods and memories that do not serve us well. When one visits, smile at it and let it go on its way. You can let it be, exactly as it is, but not allow it to take over your consciousness. It can simply ‘sit on the sidelines.’