In Traditional Chinese medicine the world is a harmonious entity and all life is viewed in relation to its surrounding environment. Us humans are part of this and we take our cues from nature around us meaning we are directly and indirectly affected by the change in seasons.
Finding the peace in letting go.
In Traditional Chinese medicine the world is a harmonious entity and all life is viewed in relation to its surrounding environment. Us humans are part of this and we take our cues from nature around us meaning we are directly and indirectly affected by the change in seasons. Chinese medicine becomes a way of living. Our health, our mood, our connectedness with the earth and one another are all interwoven with the delicate balance of the seasons. Any health imbalance that exists can be aggravated by a change in season. By remaining in harmony with the environment and adapting to changes in season we can nurture our health both physically and mentally.
The basic principle is to nourish our Yang in spring and summer when our energies are vibrant, and to nourish our Yin in autumn and Winter when we turn inwards to hibernate through the harsh months.
Foods are an important element to ensure that we adjust well to the change in seasons. During autumn we want nourishing and moistening foods to help lubricate our bodies from the cold, dry environment and deepen our energy reserves for the coming winter. Foods like nuts, seeds, pumpkin, turnip, figs, apples, honey, milk, pear and oats are good choices. Wake up your digestive fire in the morning with a bowl of porridge for breakfast and have nutritious soups for dinner.
Why emotions matter
In chinese medicine Autumn correlates with the energy of the lung. As summer fades it can be a time where our immunity reduces so we have symptoms of coughs, colds, dry skin, and constipation can arise. However Autumn is also reflected in the emotion of melancholy.
Emotions in Chinese medicine are a huge factor in the health of a person. This time of year many of us start to feel more melancholic. It can be a time of emptiness, of loneliness. In our hectic worlds we often try and fight our emotions, push our true feelings under the carpet, smile and pretend we are as happy and as radiant as summer time. Ignoring low moods and 'soldiering on' is no good for the soul though. It is OK to be blue. It is OK to be melancholic. Your body is trying to tell you something. It is trying to tell you to, move inward and let go.
I tend to liken this to the cycle of trees. It can be sad to see what was once a lush green tree abundant with leaves dry out in to brown leaves that fall and leave the tree bare and exposed. However what comes in that 'fall' are seeds. Seeds are those droplets of hope that land in the earth, and wait patiently to be nurtured and nourished through winter, before that spark of magic comes in spring.
By turning to nature the earth is showing us what to do, it is telling us to be quiet and slow down; to let go and wait.
Like the tree we need to embrace our cycles and let go of our emotions. Instead of fighting the melancholy that comes with autumn reflect on our feelings and look inwards to our soul. Experience the peace of letting go. For when we let go those tiny seeds, seeds of hope, of new beginnings, are planted waiting to be nurtured.
What can we do to help ourselves then?
Nurture those seeds, nurture yourself. Take rest when you can, eat well when you can. Fill your diet with the foods mentioned above.
Try Adding a deep breathing practice to your daily routine. Not only can the practice of mindfulness, meditation or deep breathing help clear our minds and emotional baggage, it is also an opportunity to strengthen your lung qi through deeper breathing.
Give yourself permission to have a day to soothe your soul. The acknowledgment that it is within your power and it is OK to take some time out to reflect can be very empowering. Wrap up warm and experience mindful walking in the park. Let your body absorb that sun on your face, the cold breeze, the sound of birds chitter chattering, the colours filling your vision.
I adore the phrase so often used at this time of year, 'the leaves are about to show us the beauty of letting go'. Experience that peace of letting go without fighting it. Soothe your soul and nurture those seeds of hope.