This is a two-part series where we look at how to make the most of the changing seasons. We’re exploring the changes between Summer and Winter – namely, Autumn/Fall and Spring. I’m pairing the articles as, depending on where you are in the world, you’ll be experiencing one of two seasons. Let’s start with Autumn!
I live in the Southern Hemisphere and right now in Canberra, Australia — we’re experiencing the colours of Autumn. It’s beautiful and crisp. The sun shines brightly, only now it has less strength. My yard and the streets are layered with purples, reds, oranges, yellows and greens. Slowly, but surely I’m seeing more brown leaves and bare trees.
There’s much to learn from the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Your internal and external environments interact with each other. As each season comes, we enter into a different state of energetic flow which defines our behaviour. How we behave in Summer is very different to that of Winter. In Summer, we’re in a state of expansion as the warmth encourages us to be outside and adventurous. Conversely, Winter sends us into a state of contraction, just like a bear we feel the need to rug up and hibernate. Transitioning from Summer to Winter involves the attributes of Autumn so let’s look at how we can make the most of this time, in order to make the most out of life.
Keep warm – there’s more to it than you think
I love Summer where I can throw on a dress, flip-flops and a hat and head to the nearest source of water. I find it difficult being cold and needing more clothes. I’m the first to get out my slippers and hot water bottle! However, I’m well aware that it’s not just about keeping warm. Your energy system has built up great warmth over Summer and Spring and it needs to maintain this during Autumn to prepare from Winter. As energy flows within your body, the need to keep your lungs and the Lung Meridian warm from cold and wind will help defend you from getting sick. Even if you don’t wear a jacket yet, throw on a scarf or wear heavier socks, shoes or jumper. Your Lung Meridian is like your defence system and can be very fragile, so focus on keeping warm.
Metal Element of Lung and Large Intestine
Autumn is the time for your Metal Element qualities to shine. Within each element are a yin and yang meridian. For Metal, it’s the Lung and Large Intestine meridians. Together and in balance, they help us to let go of that which we no longer need. An obvious example of this is how your large intestine organ eliminates waste from the body. However, there’s more to let go of than simply waste from your body.
Falling away and letting go
Put simply, just like trees that drop leaves before Winter, we go through this same process internally. Ask yourself “what do I need to let go of?” What emotions, thoughts, behaviours or material things no longer serve you? The Lung Meridian is especially linked with emotions such as grief, loss and sadness. It can be grief and sadness for how an aspect of life is not where you want it to be or nostalgia for the past. From a mental perspective, we can be caught in mental loops — finding it difficult to let go of an event, a conversation, false beliefs and negativity.
Walk and Breathe
The best thing you can do to help yourself let go is to move and breathe. Walking outside can be an incredibly reflective process and at the same time helps to shift your energy. Set the intention before you walk of letting go or reflect as you go along. The energy of a full moon is the perfect opportunity to have even more support to let go.
Breath is linked to both the health of the Lung meridian and your energy system as a whole. Gentle nose breathing into your belly will enable you to clear and connect. Exercises such as Qi Gong, Tai Chi, yoga and meditation combine both movement and breathing so are perfect exercises for Autumn.
Clean and organise
As we move from Summertime and living externally to Wintertime and inner reflection, there’s a need to organise, prepare and clear out! Spring is well known as the time to do a Spring clean, and similarly Autumn asks us to prepare for Winter by harvesting the bounty. Autumn is time to bring in fruit and vegetables and store them for Winter. In order to do this, we need to make room. Ask yourself “what can I donate or give-away that I don’t use anymore?” How can you organise yourself so you can hibernate and wind-down in Winter without stress and overwhelm? Go through those cupboards — it’s a great feeling to clean things out!
Enjoy Autumn, my friends. It’s a beautiful time of year and letting go makes you feel lighter and more free.
For my friends in the Northern Hemisphere — look out for my next article on Spring!