In last week’s blog, I spoke about Spring as a time of emergenc-y, when you “give birth” to new/renewed energy to grow into your next level. In my book, The Way of Joy, I note that the focus of this season is: Birthing new ideas and projects, nourishing what is coming forth, nurturing growth.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Spring is also associated with the liver, which houses the emotion of anger. When we become stagnant or feel stuck or stopped momentum, it is easy to get angry. Nourishing the liver helps transform that anger, according to the Healing Tao, into kindness or forgiveness. Because the liver rules the tendons, it is also important to include flexibility exercises, such as qigong or tai chi, into your fitness routine.
This is also a great time of year to do a liver cleanse. Other ways to benefit your liver are through eating sour foods such as lemon water, fermented foods like sauerkraut, etc. It is no accident that the deliciously lemon-y flavored weed, oxalis grows in such profusion at this time of year. (NOTE: Use just a few leaves to spark up your salad. A little is good for you, an over-abundance can become toxic, especially for kidneys so avoid oxalis if you have kidney stones or rheumatoid arthritis).
But most important, be sure to tend to any early signs of new life you may be seeing these days. What buds are emerging today?
I think of this season as “a sharpened pencil” time of year that carries a “getting ready” feeling in the air— whether in searching for the perfect back-to-school supplies, or in a growing awareness that, whether or not you like it, that the days are slowly but surely getting shorter.
Moving away from the heat of summer into the nip of Autumn reminds me that this is a time of letting go and releasing, composting what you no longer need. Like a tree losing its leaves, we too come back, on an energetic level, to our basic structure. In this way, Fall teaches us to consolidate our energy in preparation for the cold months ahead. This consolidation requires discernment, being able to make choices that are sustainable.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, (TCM) Autumn is associated with Metal. Perhaps because I grew up in New York City, where buildings were always being torn down or constructed, I often picture the bare metal framework of high-rises before they are embellished with rooms. Just as metal constitutes the bare bones of the building, Autumn represents a time when you access the bare bones of who you are, the core essence of your body/spirit.
As you might imagine, the TCM (link) emotion associated with all of this release is grief. The primary organ associated with Autumn is the lungs. Just as the wind blows through tree branches, you might find yourself letting go when you take a moment to breathe deeply and allow the feelings that arise to just move through you
The associated organ for Autumn (or the Yang partner of the Yin lungs) is the large intestine, another organ of letting go. Your large intestine rids your body of all the leftover waste material from which you extracted your nourishment. Harriet Beinfeld and Efrem Korngold write in Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese medicine, “By dispelling stale air and excreting turbid matter, the Lung and Large Intestine separate out that which we no longer desire or need.”
Here are a few tips for natural healing to support you to release of pent-up anxiety or stress.
• When you notice that you are feeling “out of sorts” either physically or emotionally, take a deep breath, then breathe out a big loud sigh of release. Let the sensation and sound of that sigh vibrate you down to your very bones.
• As you sit reading your computer screen, give yourself a little shake. Or how about standing up for just 30 seconds and shaking out your arms and legs, or bouncing a little either in your chair or standing. Be sure to keep your knees and ankles soft and pliable.
• Good cooking herbs to support you in the cooling time of the upcoming months of Autumn include: dill, fennel, thyme, ginger root, horseradish, cinnamon, cayenne, basil, and rosemary.
• Dr Linda Berry suggests that you “get out in daylight every day. Even when its not sunny you still catch enough light to stimulate the secretion of the “happy hormone” serotonin.”
• You can increase the benefits of that sun/sky stimulation by opening up your arms as you look up to embrace the sky. Welcome the day with a loud expressive sigh of “WOW”. Or, as the heart-infused Taiji Master, Chungliang Al Huang suggests, give out a nice, big “Ah-Ha!”