The Fall season will soon be upon us, the transitional season where temperatures fluctuate between hot and cool and finally to cold. The days become shorter, the air cooler and dryer, and wind picks up. Summer is a time of abundance, maturity, creativity, and joy of spirit; a time for outwardness and increased activity levels. Fall is a time of harvest, a time for gathering up; a time of rest and inward reflection, of storage and re- strengthening. Everything around us begins to change. During summer a tree's leaves absorb energy from the sun and take water from the ground to produce food energy for the tree. During Fall a tree’s leaves are dropped as the amount of sunlight is reduced and the tree prepares for the coming freeze. The sap moves deeper inside the tree to protect it from the cold. Next years leaves and flowers already exist in the form of buds and await their carefully timed release in the spring. For people Fall is a time of change as well, a time to slow down, to let go, to move inward, conserve our vital energy, and to reflect on all that has passed this year and the potential for next year.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recognizes the dual nature of the universe (yin and yang), the importance of noticing what's happening in the natural world, and being in harmony with it. Yang is activity, warmth, growth, movement, and outwardness. Summer is a yang season. Yin is quietness, stillness, cold, storage, and inwardness. Fall is a yin season. In TCM Fall is the season of the element metal which is symbolic of cold and the act of contracting. Just as with the tree's sap, our energy starts to move from the surface of our bodies to the interior to keep us warm and protected. In TCM the body's organs each have their season. Fall is the season of the Lungs. The associated emotion is grief. As light levels fade along with summer's abundance we can experience a sense of loss. Grief is a natural process of life.
Fall is also a time to reflect on our health more. Fall and Winter are the season of colds and flu. TCM recognizes what it calls the invading environmental factors of wind, heat, cold, damp, and dryness. Remember how Grandma used to remind you to bundle up when out in a chilly wind or you might “catch a chill”? According to TCM, exposure to these external factors can lead to their invasion of the body leading to disease. One of the primary areas of invasion is the neck, particularly under the base of the skull, where there is little fat as a protective layer and where important acupuncture points are located. When wind enters the body through these points the muscles of the neck and shoulders tense up to try to protect against further invasion. Often fever or perspiration are present as the body fights these invaders. So what can we do to protect ourselves? Simple. Wear a scarf, a jacket, or shirt that covers the entire neck on those cold windy days. These days I place more importance on function than fashion. While others walk outside in open shirts I have my neck covered. I even have a thin vest that zips up to the top of my neck for days when it’s too warm to wear a jacket but the wind requires that I cover my neck. I also keep an emergency scarf in my car for times I leave the house without checking conditions. Sometimes small things can yield big results.
What other things can you to make the most of fall?
Just as fall is the season of the harvest, gathering nature’s bounty in preparation for winter, it's a time for us to complete unfinished projects, to bring closure to open issues in our lives.
Be open to examining any grief issues that come up. Loss and grief isn't limited to the big events in our lives, it can come from anything.
Start slowing down your outward activities and allow your focus to turn inward. Open up to your inner wisdom. Cultivate inward activities such as meditation, relaxation, reading and journaling. Examine the lessons that life provides. Look for ways to refill your emotional and spiritual bucket.
Continue to spend time outdoors, opening your senses and your whole being, noticing all that is changing around you. Notice what you notice; realize your place in this process.
This is a time of year when the body gets involved in throwing off excess waste, cleansing the system of toxins. It's also a time focus on strengthening our immune system. Consider consulting a licensed medical herbalist for assistance with these.
Summer was a time to expend energy. In fall start to focus on conserving your energy. View it as a precious resource that will get you through the winter. Get plenty of rest. Refill your physical bucket.
As in summer continue to listen to your body gain awareness which can facilitate self-healing. Massage and Ortho-Bionomy® are excellent tools to bring awareness to the body, emotions, and spirit.
Most importantly always remember to…
Be Gentle With Yourself
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Ric Chamberlin Registered Practitioner - Society of Ortho-Bionomy International ® Licensed Massage Therapist - State of Nebraska The Healing Connection 900 S 74th Plaza, Suite 116, Omaha, NE 68114 402 850 0752