The beauty of the autumn up on the hill where the tall pines grow includes wild turkeys grazing in the pasture, the sunrising later in the morning at just the right angle to illuminate the golden trees, spider webs cast upon the branches, and squirrels climbing up the corn and sunflower stalks to strip what seeds are left. There is so much beauty during these changing times.
As each plant sets seed and slowly dies back to become compost, how can I release what is ready to die inside me? What burdens am I ready to lay down? What old stories am I ready to re-write? What will remain if I let go, truly let go of my grip on what I think is true? The power of really surrendering to the mystery is finding the hidden gems inside our hearts.
How can it be that there is so much beauty even in death?
As I write, a spider walks across my laptop keyboard. I brush it away without even thinking, and it dies. My first thought is, “Ugh, I am so sorry Spider. How insensitive I am. With one brush of my finger you die. How unfair the world is. Death is not easy. This alive being is now a tiny ball next to me, unmoving. Oh, the grief. And it’s a tiny spider! Imagine how much un-felt grief resides inside each of us waiting to be released. This is what Fall, or Metal Time in Chinese Medicine is for – lay down your sorrows and give them back to the Earth where they can be held, transformed, so you can be free.
Metal Time can bring challenges, which are really opportunities to feel the grief of letting go. Metal is connected to the organs Lung (breath in the new) and Large Intestine (let go of the old). These two systems need attention during the fall so by the time winter arrives, we are not carrying excess grief, pain, ideas and feelings that are weighing on us. We want to go into winter feeling strong, supported and nourished, not depleted and run down. This is an important time to pause, tune into what else you can let go of and nourish your body.
Are there projects you’ve agreed to that don’t really fulfill you anymore? Are there relationships that you need to let go of? Are there spending patterns that keep you from saving up for the things you really want? Are there obligatory commitments that take more time than you want to give them? What would you do with your life if you didn’t compulsively schedule until the calendar is so full that the only thing remaining is time to brush your teeth and rush out the door?
If there’s a building feeling of resentment inside you now, this is helpful information. It may mean a boundary with others and/or yourself is being crossed. I’ll ask you again:
What can you let go of right now so you can fully step into the life you want to live?
Let the emotions flow. It can be scary to admit to ourselves that we’ve taken on too much. Listen to your heart during this time. Trust yourself. Those voices telling you that the only way you will be loved is if you stay busy, show up, rush around, finish deadlines on time, and never disappoint anyone is exactly what discompassionate capitalism wants you to hear.
So, will you listen to your heart or a societal message that gives out stamps of approval?
Large Intestine is the system that lets go of what our body doesn’t need after it has taken the nourishment from food. Sometimes, I say, “I am going to large intestine my closet today.” Or, “I am going to large intestine my kitchen cabinets.” It’s the act of sorting (small intestine) and releasing (large intestine) what is bogging you down, taking up space, and not truly nourishing you anymore. If it’s not nourishment, why hold on? Large intestine is like the executioner saying, “begone!”
Lung is the system that takes in oxygen to feed the blood which gives us life. Lung needs space to breathe in new life, creative ideas, new plans, fresh ways of being. So, if we haven’t “large intestined” enough, lung doesn’t have the space it needs to expand. I’ll be direct here: can you imagine going for a hike or sitting on a meditation cushion paying attention to your breath while having to go poop? No fun!
Like spring, fall is a good time to do a cleanse and get your digestion flowing. If you feel stuck, constipated or bloated, this could be signals that you’re holding in emotions. In addition to dietary changes, be curious as to how emotions may be linked in with your colon.
Lung is about opening to the divine messages to behold the true essence of who you are on this planet. Expanding into your divinity for simply being born. Do you ever feel like you’re holding your breath or breathing shallowly? Pay attention to your breath! Taking deep breaths calms the nervous system, brings oxygen to the brain, increases blood circulation, and slows the monkey mind.
Lung is about taking up the space you deserve as a human being. Your birth and existence are miracles. If you feel the need to prove yourself, let that story go! You are enough just be being here. So breathe deep and call in what you really want. Find peace with what is already here now that large intestine has let go of what no longer serves. Great peace resides in the lungs.
If you hold onto grief and carry it with you as we move into winter, lung imbalances such as upper respiratory infections, asthma, coughs, or bronchitis have more of a chance of showing up. So, find a safe place and person to feel your grief, sadness, anger, any and all emotions.
Crying is a way to squeeze out the pain and make space for love.
My dear teacher Darryl says when we pour water, we are making an offering. After a good cry, go outside and pour some water on the Earth so your tears can soak into the Earth. Your tears are prayers. They are like the water flowing into the roots of the plants, we need them to give life.
The dying of anything or anyone has to be felt. We are humans with feelings for a reason. It is our responsibility to feel in a safe, healing way. Martin Prechtel, author of The Smell of Rain of Dust: Grief and Praise writes about how our tears of grief for the death of a loved one is our way of praising them for their time with us. The ancestors, the pets, the plants, our beloveds, they all need our tears. Our grief honors them with dignity. Even if you feel angry toward someone who has died, feel the anger! What is often underneath anger is deep grief. It’s all one – emotions are emotions, feel them.
You are not weak for feeling your emotions. Quite the opposite. You are so strong. What happens if we don’t feel the grief? Disease. Disease is the result of suppressing emotions.
Go where there is grief, for it is there where you’ll find the gold.
You are so brave and courageous.
Blessings for a healthy autumn