Growing season is over, and the light is fading – there will be no new growth now. All of nature is descending into its death phase. Grief emerges as the predominate emotion of the season. The nature of grief calls us to seek spiritual answers to life’s biggest questions. The clear air of autumn supports an expanded sense of connection with the heavens and our search for mystical or transcendent solutions to life’s unanswerable questions.
Autumn’s crisp and clear air fills every dimension of our being. We may savour the experience of feeling “inspired”. Our easy breath brings with it a sense of embodied awareness. However, the predominance of grief can suppress inspiration – we may find it difficult to inhale – to receive life and any of the gifts that are here now – or to exhale and let go of our experiences of the past.
The image of a small acorn, letting go without knowing whether it will give rise to an oak or simply decay and rot, has much to teach humans about letting go without regret for what was or wasn’t, without anticipation of what might be, and without any attachment to the sacredness of this moment of letting go. The Metal element and the season of autumn support us to live in the present moment.
The Lungs serve life by receiving and dispersing the “pure Qi of the heavens” to every dimension of our body, mind, and spirit. They help us find inspiration and a fresh breath to start anew after a loss.
The Metal’s spirit is called the po, or animal soul. Our po gives us a sense of being animated. It inspires our most primal and instinctive nature and gives us the capacity for embodied awareness. It resides in our Lungs and travels with our breath. It brings a sensate experience of animation to every dimension of our body. It supports instinctive, reactive, physical responses. Spiritual practices that focus on the breath cultivate our po.
Support yourself for a healthy autumn:
- Aromatherapy – This formula helps keep your lungs and respiratory system healthy and strong. Put everything in a glass spray bottle – 4oz water, 6 drops each of eucalyptus, fir, and lavender essential oils and 3 drops each of peppermint and pine. Spritz as you wish and breathe in! This recipe is from the book, Four Seasons of Inner and Outer Beauty, by Peggy Borgman.
- Acupressure – Lung 9 is an excellent point to fight off a cold. It has been used to treat coughs, tightness of the chest, shortness of breath, asthma, digestive problems, and wrist pain. It strengthens the Lungs and immune system. This point is located in the depression at the base of the thumb, at the crease of the wrist point. Massage a few times per day on both sides.
- Wear a scarf! One theory as to how people catch colds or the flu, is by an “invasion of wind”. According to Chinese medical philosophy, wind penetrates the back of the neck, bringing with it external pathogens which can lead to illness. Cover up with a scarf and jacket especially after sweating of if it is windy, even if you don’t think you need one.
- Eating for the season – autumn is the harvest season for rich, dense foods that support and fuel the body, providing additional heat to protect us from the upcoming cold climate. These foods help “thicken” the blood in order to keep us warm. Other foods that support us in the autumn are sour foods like sauerkraut, olives, pickles, leeks, lemons, apples, and pears.
As the season progresses into late autumn, just as mother earth is flowing through her seasonal change, the body begins its own journey as well. This is a transition to drawing inward in preparation for the winter.
Maintain and nourish your health and energy through all the seasons for a long and happy life!