“He who knows others is wise, he who knows himself is enlightened” – Lao Tzu

This is the time of year when energy in nature and the universe move downward or inward, in a sense.  Energy is “falling.”  All things in nature approach their completion in the Fall.  It is time to release what is no longer needed.

The Metal Element and the Lung & Large Intestine

In Chinese philosophy, the seasons relate to the Five Elements that are found in Nature.  Autumn is the Element of Metal (Winter is Water, Spring is Wood, Summer is Fire and Late Summer is Earth).  The Metal Element is related to the color white, the sound of weeping and the smell of rotten.

This season of “taking in and letting go” reflects the organs of the Lung and the Large Intestine. The Lungs breathe energy in from the heavens (takes in energy), while the Large Intestine releases it (lets go).  “Taking in and letting go” signifies the energy of the Fall season.

Physically the energy of the Fall supports the rhythmic cycles of the body, including breathing, sleep, the condition of the skin and pores, the elimination of wastes and the maintenance of our overall energy.  Mentally the energy of the Fall helps us to “take in,” to receive information, ideas and thoughts-and to let go.  It helps us to know what is of value.

Emotionally the Fall energy helps us flow with life, to be open to others, to form lasting and meaningful relationships, and to let go and grieve our losses.  Spiritually our connection deepens with our inner spirit in the Fall. This is the foundation for our inner authority and integrity. Fall helps us feel a part of a larger spirit at work in the universe. 

The Season of Grief

Associated with Autumn is the emotion of Grief.  Grief is a natural expression of loss and sadness.  Unexpressed grief can create an imbalance in the body that harms the lungs.  Think about when you cry- how you express that emotion through your breathing.  You can’t cry without using your lungs.

Our internal cycles are swinging into yin mode.  To be yin is to be quiet, slow and introspective.   Think of what is occurring with plants- their energy is turning downward from the leaves into the roots.  So too should we start focusing on our roots.

Think of what is occurring with plants- their energy is turning downward from the leaves into the roots.  So too should we start focusing on our roots.

Just as nature needs a season in her cycle to prepare for “rest,” we do too.  The 3 months of Fall are called ‘the period of tranquility of one’s conduct.’  Soul and spirit should be gathered together.  In this phase, the ancients taught that all things in nature approach their completion and that it is time to release what is no longer needed. When our fall energy is healthy, we can take in the ideas, relationships and activities that will enrich our lives, and we can let go of what no longer serves us.

Healthy Tips for the Fall Season

  1. Wear a Scarf.  According to Chinese Philosophy the back of the neck is the ‘gate’ where wind and cold tend to invade. Protect your neck.
  1. Tend to your Lungs and Large Intestine.  Eat Seasonally (and locally if possible).  Root vegetables, dark leafy greens, hearty stews with garlic, shallots and onions, squashes, grapes and pomegranates.  Feed you lungs with deep cleaning breathes and moderate exercise.  Wake up early and go for a 15 minute walk.
  1. Drink more water. The Fall is considered the dry season. Drink water specifically to cleanse your large intestine.  The lungs need fluids to expel toxins and to enable proper deep breathing.
  2. Slow down, nourish your yin.  Allow yourself to be quiet, slow and introspective.  Nourish your roots.  Going to bed earlier will nourish your yin.
  3. Consider Acupuncture to assist you to make the gradual transition into the Fall. Acupuncture will help your body, mind and spirit to ease into this new way of being within the world as you again prepare for the next transition, the season of winter, the Water Element.

These gifts from the Fall phase of the universal energy cycle help us to know ourselves and to connect with others.  As the Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu said “He who knows others is wise, he who knows himself is enlightened.”

Sara Rodefeld is licensed to practice Acupuncture and as a Registered Nurse in Indiana and Tennessee. Sara holds a Masters Degree from The Academy for Five Element Acupuncture.  

Call 317-818-1800 to schedule acupuncture with Sara.  

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