Nature is signaling the descent into Autumn. While our calendars point to a date to tell us of Fall’s arrival, nature makes us aware of the transition from season to season. The sun’s light and duration shifts and some plants look piqued while others begin their heyday. The air, although as of this writing is humid, is certain to circulate the clarity, coolness and crispness only found this time of year.
Autumn allows us to get back into a particular rhythm that is missing in the summer. Summertime energies literally allow us a departure from our traditional schedules, and hopefully you were able to take advantage of this. Now that Fall is settling in, begin to observe the gifts of this time of year. Some of my patients mention being a little unsettled and comment that Fall means Winter will soon be at our heels. By looking past Autumn, they are likely missing the medicinal gifts this season has to offer. If you too are not a fan, this is a great opportunity to reframe the resistance to Fall.
This time of year seems to bring up loss and grief, and these particularly affect the Lung and Large Intestine. There is a certain energetic quality of loss and it’s also reflected in nature as the trees begin to shed their leaves. The process of letting go doesn’t make the tree less of a tree, it’s simply in a quieter stage of growth. Here is something to consider-is there something in your life that you need to let go of? To grieve?
Fall is a good time to reflect on your life now, exactly how it is and how it isn’t preferably without judgement. This is the practice of acknowledgement. Perfection, the constant striving for something other than what is, brings suffering. Like me, I bet you are really good at suffering, so here’s a way to interrupt that losing battle. Once a day, even for 5 minutes, consciously take a deep breath, perhaps with a cup of tea in hand, and begin to notice your inhale and exhale. Make this a daily meditation or ritual and include a reflection on words such as inspiration, respect and acknowledgement. These words have particular significance with the Metal Element that houses the Lung and Large Intestine, which also indicates their level of balance.
Some questions to consider are: what inspires you right now? If inspiration missing, look for ways to wrap that into your life. For example, watching an inspirational TED talk might do the trick. Or in our DC Metro region, there are plenty of amazing organizations full of humans doing amazing work. Hang out with people that are up making a difference in the world.
Next, going a little deeper, what situation in your life could you acknowledge instead of running away from (defined as being too busy, being judgmental, or ignoring it altogether). All three things deplete your energy. What ways could your energy be better served? To paraphrase a story I once heard, a Buddhist monk on an evening walk heard a barking dog approach him. He turned, frightened, and had a split second to make a decision. Remembering his teachings, instead of running away, he turned, faced the wildly, barking dog, and began running toward it. The dog, so surprised, turned away and sprinted in the opposite direction. What if what you fear only has power because you keep running from it? It is often scarier in your mind then it is in reality.
Autumn is my favorite season, and I’d like to hear what you love about Fall with the intention of helping those who are struggling with this time of year.