Looking out of my window as I am settling down to write the weekly WCO blog post and autumn is here for sure. In England, as of the last few days, that has meant rain and getting significantly colder!
Downpours aside, I love the change of late summer into autumn – the colours in nature, the chill in the mornings, a feeling of starting anew after the holiday season has drawn to a close, the seasonal vegetables and getting out my slow cooker to make some warming and hearty food!
Despite living in a 24/7/365 society where everything we desire (and so much more!) is merely a drive or walk away, or even delivered to our doorstep tomorrow, there’s a subtle and deeply ingrained feeling of preparing for colder and harder months ahead – an imprint deep within our DNA.
Apart from trying each year to wear shorts as far into autumn and even winter for as long as I possibly can, I do believe in living in a way which is in tune with the seasons. It’s sometimes not easy and sometimes those lovely blueberries imported from Chile look really tasty in that plastic container – but – hold on a second, those crunchy apples on the trees outside are pretty good also…
In Chinese medicine, autumn is the Metal phase of the year (for a primer on the 5 elements, you could read my blog post from a few weeks ago.).
The Metal organs are the Lung and Large Intestine. It’s a time to protect yourself from colds and coughs as the seasons change – get your slow cookers out as well and eat warming foods with plenty of pungent flavours – such as garlic, onions. Ditch damp and cold food and drinks, such as salads, dairy, and sugar. Don’t wear shorts (!) and dig out those warmer layers of clothing.
It’s also a time to look inward a little more – and Metal, according to Chinese Medicine, is a time for grief and sadness, it’s the season for letting go of what does not serve you anymore.
I think that I personally become a little more reflective at certain times of year, and this is definitely one of them. I have been changing up my daily work and training routines lately, writing more, being at home more after a summer of travel, focussing on the winter months.
When out of balance, the Lung and Large Intestine can leave you with a feeling of being a little agitated and not thinking too clearly – the changing of the seasons can have an effect on emotions and make them run a little high.
To balance any such feelings, increasing tai chi and qigong-type practices, sleeping more, amending your diet to reflect the season, decluttering your living and working areas, planning and getting organised for the winter months ahead are all recommended.
Meditation is a great thread to weave throughout your training whatever the season. However, in a phase of the year where letting go is a focus, it’s particularly fitting to increase the amount of time spent mindfully.
Meditation does not have to be spent sitting still – many people are attracted to qigong and tai chi due to their ‘meditation in motion’ properties (this motion helps you keep warm as the weather cools too!).
This is a season of contraction, and having a sense of being grounded and turning inwards will help your mental clarity and wellbeing.
We have a lot of videos on www.whitecraneonline.com where you can learn meditation, qigong, and tai chi – and in a season where we look inwards, stay home more and prepare for winter, a new relaxing practice could be just what is required as our DNA leads us subtly towards hibernation.