The autumn equinox has passed and the signals of the seasonal change are evident: cooler nights, warm but shorter days, and the slant of the sun offering us a “sparkle factor” when we notice our outdoor surroundings. Other signs of autumn here in Elfin Forest are that the vegetable garden is in transition and pickings are slim, acorns are starting to drop from our many oak trees, and our pomegranates, pears, persimmons and Fuji apples are almost ripe.
Autumn is the time of waning Yang and increasing Yin. We start to feel it is time to slow down and turn inward for the approaching winter. As we look inward during autumn, it is a natural opportunity to learn more about ourselves as this season supports us in letting go of old ways. Like nature releasing summer foliage and seeds so they can return to and enrich the earth, we can embrace this time for our own enrichment and become new in many ways. Autumn leads us back to our essence as we let go of what we no longer need. This reveals what is most precious in our lives and enhances our receptivity to the possibility of new ways of thinking, seeing and living.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the attributes corresponding to the autumn season are the lung organ, the color white, the metal (or air) element, and the resolving of grief with inner strength. Grief is the challenging (often called ‘negative’) emotion of the autumn season. As part of being human, we all experience loss and separation and the need to let go; we naturally feel grief at those times. Nature instructs us about the cycles of creating and releasing. Grief cleanses us of what is no longer needed in our lives. Grief and the symbolism of the metal element also grant us the opportunity to find our deep inner strength, like mining precious gold from the earth.
This is an ideal time to release clutter from your surroundings (closets, desk, garage), and from your mind (fear, anger, prejudice, envy, resentment). Mentally try on how it feels to live without this clutter. You can make cleaning/de-cluttering a meditation in resolving old ways of habitual thinking. Mine the precious gold of inner strength within you.
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.” – Thích Nhat Hanh
In the last few weeks, I’ve started cleaning out closets and drawers. When I mentioned this to a friend she asked me, “Why now?” This is when I remembered that my urge to de-clutter is a sign of the season. I was happy to realize that it was a natural response. It feels freeing to let go of those objects, with their associated old thoughts and habits that seem to have come to end of their cycle, to their own autumn.
Continuing your qigong practice is a powerful way to stay in balance and feel harmonized with this season. Embracing and integrating the seasonal information will support you in living within the laws of nature and enjoying life more. It will also enhance the “sparkle factor” mentioned earlier. Perhaps you’ve noticed, after completing a qigong practice, that your surroundings seem more alive and accessible? If you haven’t, check it out next time by looking at trees, flowers and/or animals near you as you open your eyes. If you would like to activate the sparkle factor even more, please join us on Saturday, September 28, for our Seasonal Wisdom Workshop to Enhance Wellness.
For the last 10 years, we have spent part of each autumn in Hawaii. This year we are delaying our trip until February, so I’ve been looking at ways to connect with our qigong friends in Hawaii. I’m happy to announce that online classes will be offered starting in late October. I hope to not only see our friends from the land of aloha, but also the many of you whom we have come to know over the years in other parts of the country and the world. Looking forward to seeing you online!