The season of harvest, beloved for numerous reasons, marks a period of celebration, storage, and settling down. In Ancient Chinese Medicine, the fall season is linked to the Lung and Large Intestine organs, the metal element, a pungent flavor, a dry climate, the western direction (setting sun), the emotion of grief, descending energy, and the sense of smell. I will delve into a few of these associations, and I encourage you to explore the rest as each holds a key to immersing ourselves fully in this season.
The organ systems associated with fall are the Lungs and Large Intestine. In Traditional Chinese medicine, they form the Yin-Yang pair of the Metal season, mirroring the processes of taking in and letting go. The Lungs draw in oxygen, the invisible, ethereal life that surrounds and sustains us. Our breath can calm, excite, or guide our minds into a meditative state. This can be a particularly effective season to utilize breathing practices which offer introspection, the release of deep subconscious emotions, and trauma processing. Through these practices, we can see the connection between the Lungs and the inward-facing energy of the fall season begin to emerge. In Chinese medicine, the Lung is linked to the emotion of grief, and unresolved grief depletes Lung Qi. Reflecting on what we have lost can be painful and for this reason we often do not give it enough time. Working with a therapist can also be very beneficial in this season for processing grief that we may be keeping under the surface.The Large Intestine is responsible for absorption and waste elimination, it influenced by the act of letting go of emotions that no longer serve us. Emotionally we can become stagnant and like the large intestine when constipated this causes unnecessary pain and discomfort. Can you recognize any correlation between these organs and your emotional state in your own life?
Fall represents the second half of life, typically our 40s, 50s, and 60s, when our bodies naturally slow down, moving towards stillness, quietness, and darkness. In this season, we often reminisce about loved ones, dreams, or past losses. Just as trees release their leaves and fruit, each carrying the promise of future life, we too must learn to let go, allowing some projects, relationships, and ideas to reach their natural end. Aligning with this reality brings the gifts of acceptance and contentment. Where we can have true inner peace knowing who we are and where we are.
In our modern hustle culture, there's an ongoing expectation to produce and strive year-round. So, how can you step back and truly savor the season of harvest this year? Perhaps it involves taking a few extra days off, reducing your hours, or letting your side gig rest for a couple of months. Just as precious metals lie deep within the earth, we too, by participating in this season, can become grounded in reality, growing more aware and confident in our precious nature.