Everyone in Santa Fe can smell and feel that Autumn is on its way. We have been blessed with that cool breeze and aromatic smell of roasting green chiles. September 21 marks the Fall equinox (a day when day and night are the same length). Fall is the transition from the warm exuberant energy of Summer into the introspective cozy energy of Winter. It’s when you begin to feel life slowing down. Your body begins to crave more grounding foods like root vegetables rather than the light salads you may have been eating all summer. As we move from the playful energy of summer into the soulful wanderings of winter, fall allows us the time to contemplate what is we want to bring with us. What is essential and what is it that we need to leave behind?
In Chinese medicine Fall is dominated by the element of Metal. The primary emotions associated are grief and sadness which can be transmuted into courage (Water element). The Lung and the Large Intestine are the organs associated with Metal/Autumn. They work together in receiving and releasing. The Lungs receive oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. The Large Intestine absorbs water and nutrients and expels waste. Both help in providing energy to the body. They are taking in what is good and pure and then letting go of that which does not serve. When we are not living the life that nourishes and serves us, we can feel immobilized, depressed, or sad.
Letting go is the lesson the Fall brings us. It’s one of the hardest lessons that life presents. The entire Buddhist religion is essentially based around this concept of “letting go” – non attachment. With the season shifting and my own transition into motherhood, I have become conscious of my difficulty of letting go of control. I have felt unable to control my body as it grows and transforms to accommodate and nourish my baby inside me. I have also felt unable to control how my partner relates to this experience or me. I can plan all I want but I have realized that I have no control over how my birthing experience will be, what temperament my child will have, or how I will handle motherhood. Pregnancy and birth is all about surrender. I read a midwife commenting on this by saying “When the monster is coming to you and you want to fight, open your arms and surrender. Let it have you. It WILL eventually anyway. Surrender to what have to go through. The joy is on the other side”.
Letting go is synonymous to surrender. It is not a passive act but actually one of empowerment. Sometimes letting go means taking action and walking away from situations but sometimes it also means relinquishing control which can feel more passive. This can be all the harder when things aren’t going the way that we have planned. In Pema Chodron’s book When Things Fall Apart, she says, “When things fall apart and we’re on the verge of we know not what, the test of each of us is to stay on that brink and not concretize. The spiritual journey is not about heaven and finally getting to a place that’s really swell”. When we can relax into the process, practicing radical acceptance, and letting go of things that are not serving us, we move towards our higher Selves. How can we be open to receive if we are gripping the old? Take a look at your relationships, beliefs, and lifestyle practices that are no longer serving you. Where are you ready to let go? You can use the energy of Metal/grief to let go and move you into a new cycle that can better serve you.
Foods that support you in Fall:
adzuki beans, amaranth, apples, barley, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, daikon, dates, eggplant, figs, garlic, ginger, greens, kidney beans, melons, millet, mung beans, oats, okra, onions, parsnips, pears, peppers, persimmons, pumpkin, quinoa, raisins, brown rice, sweet potatoes, turnips, wild mushroom, wild rice, yams
The transition between seasons is a great time to do a cleanse. Most cleanses focus on the liver and gallbladder and would be more well suited for the spring time. An Ayurvedic cleanse focuses more on the Large Intestine and would be gentle enough with the colder weather. Sharada Hall has created a great home version of pachakarma cleanse. Check out her website www.bodhimed.com I’ve done this cleanse before and felt amazing after. I would be doing it now but it’s not recommended during pregnancy.