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Blog / Autumn Reflections

I spoke to one of my daughters in the kitchen this morning. She was feeling sad but couldn’t pinpoint why, so I tried to explain to her that it’s perfectly normal to feel sad and reflective at this time of year, and to just accept those feelings without judgement. In the philosophy of Chinese Medicine, autumn is related to the Metal Element, and has a sinking and gathering energy where the last of the harvest is drawn in and stored to get us through the cold winter months. But is is also a time for appropriate letting go. It is the time of judgement where we retain what we need but release what is not ours to keep. Some of my patients and friends are reaching stages in life where they are having to adjust their lives and accept this releasing. Their children are starting school, off to university, or they have lost an elderly parent. Not surprisingly, the emotion linked to this season is grief.

If we look to nature for inspiration, everything has it’s own life cycle, and in order for new growth to happen in the garden, we need death and decay (in the form of compost) to nourish the new seed. A tree cannot hold onto it’s leaves through winter, it has to let go.

The organs related to this Metal energy in Chinese Medicine are the Lung and Colon (Large Intestine). We can see how from a physical point of view these are both to do with appropriate letting go (Carbon Dioxide from our lungs, and waste from our digested food). We can nourish these Chinese Organs by preparing immune boosting soups using garlic, onion or leeks. Cauliflower and button mushrooms can help to nourish the Lungs and remove excess heat. Pears and tofu can moisten dryness.

Meditation can be a great healer at this time of year as the nights get longer, as can writing a daily journal which gives the opportunity to reflect. Relaxed diaphragmatic breathing can be a great help at building strong Lung energy as well as massaging the organs of digestion – there are many online videos on how to breathe in this strengthening way.

Let’s not be too hard on ourselves at this time of year. We need to make the most of these last sunny days before the winter hibernation period comes. And it is useful to accept that we cannot feel the joy of summer all year round or we would burn ourselves out very quickly indeed!

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