Chinese Medicine Teaches Us That Autumn Is the Season To “Let It Go”

If you’ve been waiting for a sign this is it! Chinese Medicine teaches us that Autumn is a perfect season to get rid of the old and welcome the new. In short Fall is the best time to ‘let it go’.

Nature is constantly showing us about the cycle of creation and letting go: Trees in Autumn don’t stubbornly hold onto their leaves. Yet how many of us try to defy the cycle and hold onto what we’ve collected over the year – those decayed leaves in the form of old grudges, harsh attitudes, or fears? How can we hope for a healthy new year unless we release the old, and start fresh with renewed focus?

Several years ago I was watching Thinintervention on Bravo and saw Jackie (Trainer Extraordinaire) insist that the overweight, exhausted participants run holding the amount of their excess body weight on their shoulders. It was grueling just to watch !

When they were done and finally able to drop the weight to the ground she asked how they all felt getting rid of all that excess weight  – “FREE” was the cry. This metaphor works well for mental excess as well.  How many pounds of extra weight are you carrying on your shoulders ? This is the time to drop it!

You may not have Jackie Warner cheering (screaming) for you as you make the effort, but we can all survive the boot camp life sometimes puts us through.

The lesson of this season, more than any other, is to release the waste, the old, and useless aspects of our lives in order to uncover all that is meaningful and possible.

Autumn is a time of bringing in and letting go. The Chinese system uses five elements to assign meaning and describe the workings of the body (see graphic.)

The Five Elements

Metal is the element the Chinese assign to Autumn. The metal element organs are the large intestine and the lungs. The large intestine is an example of letting go of toxins. The lungs are an example of breathing in, receiving fresh air, and breathing out, getting rid of the carbon dioxide. The balance of  bringing in and letting go keeps us healthy.

The emotion of Autumn is grief.  Feelings may be heightened so you may be a little more sensitive at this time. Autumn is harvest – not only what is in our gardens but what is in our lives. We can harvest new ideas, new behaviors, and new resolutions. Paying attention to the characteristics of the metal element will help us understand how to better care for ourselves and our loved ones during this time.

Try not to be sad about the changing of the seasons. Though we may long for eternal warmth (at least I do), here in Chicago, it’s important to appreciate  the energy of each season and to take advantage of the qualities each one offers.

Start today ~ What can you let go of right now ?


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  1. Pingback: Chinese New Year: The Year Of The Metal Rat - Jennifer Dubowsky, DIPL.Ac.

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