The weather is cool and crisp. The sun is setting earlier. The leaves are beginning to turn vivid hues of red, orange, and yellow. We’re witnessing nature mark the end of the growing season and turn inward in preparation of winter. However, many of us do not follow this cycle of the seasons even though signs of slowing down are everywhere we look. We continue to take on new projects, eat quick meals on the run and fill our days with meetings and errands. Our refusal to let go of the fast pace of summer contradicts how nature instructs us to find balance.
In chinese medicine, autumn is the season of the element Metal, which focuses on “letting go” and making room for the new. The two organs in the Metal element are the colon and the lungs. Just as the colon eliminates waste from our bodies and the lungs breathe in fresh air, we need the proper balance of Metal in our lives to let go of what’s no longer needed and make room for fresh ideas.
The colon and the lungs function as a team to support us during this seasonal transition. However, physical ailments can occur when these organs become imbalanced: cough, allergies, sore throat, bronchitis, emphysema, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal pain. We can also experience feelings of depression, stubbornness, isolation and negativity. Only through restoring the Metal in our lives can we hope to combat these illnesses, move on from old ways of thinking and embrace new experiences.
How can we restore this balance? We need to follow nature’s lead and slow down, leaving time to rest and being careful not to overexert ourselves. Turn inwards towards your home and family, and focus only on projects that are already in progress. Take time out of each day for reflection and give yourself room to grieve and move on from past experiences. Use this time to de-clutter your mind and home of spiritual and physical rubbish. Breathe in the dry, crisp fall air slowly and deeply.
To further help prevent illnesses, eat simple meals that are warm and easy to digest. Autumn is full of wonderful foods and spices that will keep our organs and immune systems healthy: potatoes, beets, squash, carrots, yams, apples, pears, rice, ginger, cinnamon, garlic and onions all have a profoundly healing effect on our minds and bodies. Slow down your exercise routine and start focusing on your core muscles through yoga, pilates and tai qi.
Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of year. By following its lead, we can give ourselves permission to eliminate any negativity and clutter from our lives to make room for inspiration and tranquility. Enjoy this wonderful season of reflection and growth!