“There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky,which through the summer is not heard or seen,as if it could not be, as if it had not been! ”~ Percy Bysshe Shelley
Each season moves us through a period of transformation. Autumn and spring tend to be the times of more intense change and it is a powerful time to harmonize with the energy of the season for happy living and healthy well-being. Traditionally, autumn is the harvest season. It is the time for our bodies to harvest and gather energy for the colder months ahead. The yang/outer energy of summer gives into the growing yin/inner energy of the approaching winter.
The days are getting shorter and cooler and as we are transitioning we may find that we are more tired, emotions are surfacing such as loss and grief and we may even feel a sense of overwhelm. Although it may not seem so on the surface, there is an intense shift happening as we are clearing the excess heat from summer and then, we quickly need to begin warming the body the against extremes we will experience in Winter. The strong, drying winds of autumn and the falling temperatures help the leaves to fall to earth and also, begin to push our own energies in and down as well.
In Chinese Medicine, the organs most active in this season are those of the Metal element – Lung and Large Intestine, both of which have strong functions of absorption and elimination. With the Lungs this has to do with respiration and with the Large Intestine, it has to do with digestion. The emotions associated with this season are grief and loss and it is not uncommon to experience a lot of sadness bubbling up this time of year. By moving into harmony with what is natural arising in our being and nurturing these parts of ourselves, we can support ourselves in creating greater joy and ease of well-being now and as we move into the stillness of Winter.
Here are some tips to help you harmonize with the season:
- Rest & Renewal – It is natural to feel a sense of tiredness or fatigue as the seasons are changing. This shift affects us in many ways and living in a modern world with electricity and technology can make it easy to override our natural rhythms. The feelings of the yin energy coming in can be a heavy feeling, like we are being pulled down and it can be one we want to resist in order to get things done. Be sure to listen to your body, mind, emotion and spirit and follow the messages you receive in terms of getting adequate rest. You may be feeling to go to bed earlier or sleep in later in the mornings. You may feel like taking nap in the middle of the day. Your body is telling you what it needs; all you need to do is listen. Getting adequate rest now is a precursor to having strong immune function during coming the winter months.
- Letting Go Of Clutter: In & Out – Autumn is the season of letting go and releasing. We see this in nature as the leaves turn and begin to fall back to earth. We see this with the Lung & Large Intestines as well. We can use the energy of the season to support us in letting go of things that are no longer serving us. This may be the clutter in our office or home and it may be beliefs we are holding that no longer serve us. You may find that things you’ve wanted to clear or de-clutter and felt stuck on move more easily as you attend to them this time of year. Taking time to create clearer space, both inner and outer, supports you in preparing for the stillness of winter. Think about what you are ready to let go of. Where can you focus your energies to create more space in your life? What are you ready to let go of today?
- Connecting With Nature – Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are a part of nature. Taking time to be present and connect with the natural world can help us to connect more deeply with our own essence. Spend some time in nature just being. Perhaps a walk in the woods or even just around your neighborhood. Take some time to notice the changes that are abounding this time of year – the leaves turning color and falling, the squirrels busily preparing for winter, and the roots vegetables peaking that can support us through Winter.
- Warming Your Body & Soul – As the weather begins to cool and the air becomes drier, we need to find ways to warm and soothe our body and our soul. In Chinese Medicine, Autumn is a powerful time to strengthen our Lung & Large Intestine function. Drinking hot beverages can help to keep your body hydrated and warm. Teas such as Rooibos, Green Tea, Fenugreek, Chamomile and Licorice can be beneficial. Also, warming herbs such as Ginger, Cinnamon, Cloves or Cardamom can help warm our whole system. Honey can be helpful as it supports yin function making it the perfect sweetener for this time of year; it can be used in tea or just in warm water to soothe a sore throat. Try this simple ginger tea is incredibly warming and supports digestion as well: Wash ginger root. Slice thumb sized pieces of ginger and place in 2 cups of water. Cover and simmer for 10-20 minutes and drink while warm. Add honey if you need a sweetener. Also, taking hots baths can help to keep the body warm and release toxins that are ready to be let go. Try infusing your bath with some herbs such as lavender, chamomile, calendula, comfrey, clary sage or create your own blend. Make a hot water infusion with 10 ounces of dried herbs in cups of water, steep for 15 – 20 minutes, strain and add to your bath; or you may wish to put the herbs directly into in a cheesecloth bundle.
- Honoring Our Ancestors – In many cultures around the world, Autumn is seen as a time when we turn our thoughts turn to those who have left us; we think about their legacy and what they have left behind. Often this “remembrance” arises naturally as feelings of sadness, loss and grief come to the surface. It said that the “veils” are thinner this time of year and that our ancestors often come home to visit their loved ones. This is a powerful time to honor our ancestors through ceremony & ritual. It can also be a good time to allow ourselves to release feelings of loss and grief that we have been carrying that is ready to be released. Sometimes we need to come to greater completion with our ancestors or loved ones. Take some time to think of your ancestors. Is there someone who has passed that you need to work with to move to a place of greater peace in your life? Perhaps there are feelings you need to share or work through that are unresolved. Now it the perfect time to do this type of soul work. Is there is a pattern or belief you have become aware of in your ancestral lineage? What can you do to begin to transform that pattern? Perhaps simply asking your ancestors for help is the place to begin!
I hope you will take some time in the coming weeks to harmonize with the energy of the season. As always, feel free to stop by to share your experiences and reflections.