There is nothing like the crisp cool scent of Autumn. As the hustle and bustle of summer fades away things settle more into a routine during the fall. We have school and schedules all falling into place which allows us to adopt a more regular lifestyle. Summer offers us a delightful abandonment of rules like bedtime, supper time, etc, whereas autumn brings a more organized routine and less hectic pace. The full season of Yang (summer) is transitioning into Yin (winter). During this time we want to gather our energy back inward rather than expelling it outward. It’s time to prepare for the winter months ahead.
In the five element theory Autumn is considered the time of Metal. A time where the energy shifts from outward (the growing season) to inward (time of rest). Autumn is that transition. We let go of the busyness of doing. We let go of that full expression of summer and take stock of what we harvested. Now is the time to examine what we need to keep, and what we need to get rid of. Just as the trees no longer need their leaves, we let go of what we don’t need. We keep only what is essential to our lives. When the trees drop their leaves they become the rich compost that nourishes the next harvest. The grand cycle of life where nothing is wasted and everything is part of the whole.
The organs associated with Metal are the Lung and Large intestine. Both organs take in what they need and expel what they don’t. It’s a balance between absorbing what nourishes us, and expelling what harms us. Metal energy reflects our true selves. What is our essence? What lies deep within that is pure and true? That is what we keep and all else is not needed. This is the ideal time to ponder what habits strengthen your system, and what habits weaken your system. When we let go of that which no longer serves our deepest self we make room for that which nourishes our true self. Just as the lung and large intestine do for our bodies, we must do for our minds and spirit.
“This is time to gather one’s spirit and energy, be more focused, not allow desires to run wild. One must keep the lung energy full, clean, and quiet. This means practising breathing exercises to enhance lung Qi.” – The Yellow Emperor Classic of Medicine
- De-cludder your environment. Organize and throw away all that extra debris that will only weigh you down over the long winter ahead. We can let go just as nature is doing all around us. We can let go in order to honour that pure essence within. We are not our stuff and we are not our hurts! Let them go.
- Deep breath. Be away of your breath and take some time to sit and be present with the breath. Watch it deepen and soften as we focus our minds. Staying present allows us to take stock of what we do have. Practising gratitude for the harvest is a perfect autumn activity. Whether it’s a full garden, good friends, or simply the blessing of waking up to another season – be grateful.
- Take some time to contemplate your deepest values. Ask yourself what you might be holding on to that is weighing you down. Are there things in your life you need to set aside? Are there old beliefs that no longer nourish your true self? Allow the energy of Autumn to guide you along your personal path of what is best to keep, and what is best to let go. The wisdom of nature provides an excellent example of the cycle of renewal – letting go of old, making room for new.