Metal Season: The Time for Learning about Letting Go, but that what’s of Value Remains

by Inger Giffin, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac.

 

Bright Colored Fall Leaves

The air is pungent with the quieting of the seasons. Everywhere around us we feel the downturn of energy, as leaves shine their last dying blasts of color before departing this world for their fall into the earth. Now is the time of letting go, of releasing—of bringing inward the scattered energies of the previous warmer seasons. As with every season in Chinese Medicine, Fall brings with it its own value, which if acknowledged helps us capture the magic and inspiration of the present.

Fall is the season of the Metal element, and is related physically to the lungs and bowels, and psychologically to not only grief and sadness, but also inspiration and wisdom. Just as precious metals contain value, so is this time of year about looking towards that which adds value to our lives, and letting the rest go. We inspire with our lungs, and likewise, aligning with that which is valuable, we bring the inspiration needed to pull through times of sorrow and quiet. But while it’s a time of letting go, we must realize that all is not lost. For as falling leaves, fruits, and seeds are potentized by their descent into the soil and used as compost for next Spring’s new growth, so too can what’s left after the “letting go” bring powerful gifts for our future expansion.

When our Metal is balanced, we appreciate this time of quiet and reflection, and value listening to our inner wisdom. We look forward to this inward turn that connects us to our guidance, and feel no sadness that the craziness and play of summer are passed. Our lungs, which store our immune Qi (energy), are strong and protect us from illness, and our breathing is free, deep, and easy. As we emotionally let go of what no longer serves us, our bowels let go also, moving easily and effortlessly.

Imbalanced Metal then brings the opposite, and symptoms often worsen during this time of year. Breathing issues, such as asthma or shortness of breath, as well as frequent colds or flues, are common. Constipation comes for those who have a hard time letting go, and this manifests emotionally in the form of depression-we lose all inspiration for life.

 

Balance your Metal with the following tips:

  • Foods:

-Eat more sour foods, which contract scattered energies: sourdough bread, sauerkraut, olives, pickles, rosehip tea, vinegar, yogurt, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and the sour varieties of apples.

-Cook with less water, at lower heat, for longer time, which internalizes one’s focus.

-As Fall progresses into winter, gradually add in more salty and bitter foods, which move your energy downward and inward. During cold weather, we want our energies stored deep inside where our heat resides.

  • To strengthen your lungs and immunity, practice breathing exercises, through Qi Gong, Tai Qi, or Yoga.
  • If grieving, use this as encouragement to look more deeply inside, rather than repressing your feelings. It is hard to “let go” of something that we never fully felt in the first place.
  • Give thanks for what is here and you’ll be amazed how quickly are you are reconnected to your inspiration! Thanksgiving is the natural time to practice gratitude.
  • While most think of house clearing during “Spring Cleaning”, consider this time of year instead for getting rid of things that no longer bring value to your life. Turn a normally burdensome activity into a self-reflective and enriching ritual, by asking with each item, “Does this bring value to my life?” If you can’t identify its value, give it away, recycle it, or throw it out! You will be more tuned in to the true worthiness of your “stuff” by doing this exercise in the Fall, and imagine the energy freed up for expansion come Springtime!
  • Get acupuncture now to magnify its effects on addressing Metal issues.

Many grieve the ending of summer and the letting go that it requires. But by embracing this time of year and devoting it fiercely to only that which is most precious, we will find that what is left, after the letting go is done, is the most precious and pure aspects of that which we truly are.

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