If you have been feeling a bit "off" lately, it may be in relationship with the change of season. Autumn in Chinese medicine is associated with the metal element, that governs the function of the lung and large intestine. In a metaphorical sense, these organs relate to the balance of "drawing in" and "letting go". As we start to notice the leaves falling from the trees, we become present to nature shedding itself. As we are part of(and not separate from) nature, we are being directed to shed and release at this time. A sense of unexplained grief and loss may be present. Spend some quiet time with yourself, tune-in to your body at this time, notice any uncomfortable feelings, and sense what you are being guided to let go of. Letting go is often not an easy process. Our human tendency is to cling to the past, even when it does not serve us. The warmer months of summer were wicked fun, heat begets movement and action, we have emerged and expanded, spirit has come out to play. However, after any big expansion, contraction must follow. Inspiration is followed by expiration. This is the law of nature.
In order to smoothly transition through this phase, we must do our best not to give in to ego and fight this re-direction inwards, as this will only create internal conflict. Create more space in your life for quiet time, reflection and meditation. If you feel energetically over-whelmed, honour yourself by saying no to extra demands or cancelling plans, the world will be just fine (i promise!). Start to give back to yourself the most valuable thing that you can give, your attention and energy. Letting go is an inherent function of nature, if we don't release the old (expire), there is no space in our life to welcome in the new (inspire). Without release, our energy system "backs up" and we become stale and stagnant. By allowing and honouring the release phase during the Autumn period, we remain "in harmony" with the natural cycle of yin-yang.
In traditional Chinese medicine, Autumn is a time when our "Wei-Qi" (immune defence system) is most delicate, so it's important to protect yourself by wearing more layers at this time. Avoid exposure to wind and cold. After the heat of the summer, our body is at its driest, so eat plenty of warm soups and broths. Drink plenty of water(warm or room temperature is best) to avoid dehydration. Avoid too many spicy foods and stimulants(such as caffeine). As yang starts to wane and we enter the yin phase, embrace this opportunity to slow down, reflect and return to yourself.
Rachel Berners, (Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner & Cat Lover).