Time to Inspire! Wisdom from the Metal Element as we Head Into Fall
We’ve reached an interesting time of year…
While the leaves are surely beginning to change color, the weather has still been very warm.
Is it fall yet? Are we still in late summer?
Undeniably, something is stirring outside…the days are suddenly noticeably shorter and there’s a crispness to our nights that wasn’t there just a few weeks ago.
And so comes the season of Metal, according to Chinese medicine’s 5 element theory.
While I’ve been writing a lot for the past several months about connection and fun with others, as well as the nourishment we get from relationships, now begins the time of year that is much more internal.
The Metal element is about taking stock, letting go of what no longer holds value for our lives, and putting our attention towards what inspires us. Just as the trees let go of their leaves at this time of year, we must too be willing to let go of what is no longer needed in our lives.
The organs associated with the Metal season are the lungs and large intestines. With these organs we not only take in (inspire), but we let go (excrement). And so, over the next couple months, it’s a time to make sure that we are taking in what’s beneficial for us, and letting go of what isn’t.
I’ll be writing about this in more detail in the coming weeks, and sending out my yearly article on our current season; but for now, a good practice is to simply notice our breathing.
Are we taking deep, full breaths, or only using the tops of our lungs?
Any of you who do yoga know how important the breath is for centering ourselves and drawing on our power.
Lungs, breathing, and stored emotions
I will never forget the patient, years ago, who said she couldn’t take a deep breath. This had been going on for quite some time, and it was as if all her energy was trapped up in the upper part of her body. She felt wound up, restless, and unable to relax.
When I worked with her in the clinic, encouraging her to try to take a deep breath, suddenly, huge emotion welled up. She kept fighting it to the point of her body literally convulsing, but with my encouragement, suddenly, as grief swept over her, she succumbed to its force and was able to take her first deep breath in months.
She cried and cried, a grief over the loss of a loved one that she had not allowed herself to feel. Running from it, she had spent several months putting her energy into anything and everything but the grief. She was spinning on a hamster wheel — busy yes — but not accomplishing much that she really valued. As soon as she was able to feel her grief, the breathing came easy, (or vise versa) and her symptoms resolved.
Over the next few weeks, she completely reoriented her life, and gave up many commitments that actually had nothing to do with what she wanted, but were just things to keep her busy…(aka: from facing her feelings). So, she was able to take in (inspire) deep breaths, and to only give her attention to what truly inspired her in life, and to let go of the things that didn’t.
Have you taken deep breaths lately?
Do you ever find yourself driving, sitting, or walking, with all your energy trapped in the upper part of your body, your breath shallow? This is a way that we disconnect from ourselves, and when we are disconnected from ourselves, it is hard to know what we really want, or to stay connected to what inspires us.
Then, it is easy to get caught up in “filler” activities: eating junk, shopping, video games…we all have our filler activity of choice. Whenever I notice myself doing this, I make an effort to stop, take deep breaths, and bring myself back into my body. Suddenly, my entire disposition and perspective will change. And the perspective that the breath allows us, and which is related to the Metal element, is exactly what we will want to call on as we head through the next couple months.
So stay tuned for more detailed information on the Metal element, but until then…
B – R – E – A – T – H – E .