Here’s Why Grief is Weakening Your Lungs

According to the Five Elements Theory, the element corresponding to Autumn is Metal. The organs associated with this element are lungs, colon, skin, and mind. The emotion related to this season and element is grief. When we strengthen the lungs and harmonize the metal element, we can help heal grief.

Do you often wake up at 3AM, finding it a challenge to get back to sleep until after 5AM?

Or do you have seasonal allergies like hay fever or chronic conditions such as asthma worsening this time of the year? While health may deteriorate during the fall, it is also the best time to tonify and strengthen the organs and systems associated with the Metal element.

Was the Metal element disharmonized by an illness experienced in some past autumn? Is there an ancestral pattern?

Barbara Wren, the author of Cellular Awakening, has noted in her work a pattern she named “tubercular taint” which is “an energetic blueprint that is passed down through the generations.” 1

Unaddressed deficiencies and toxic buildup leave the family line more predisposed to illness. Barbara has written that, for example, a healthy person does not manifest schizophrenia in one generation; rather schizophrenia is a pattern from previous generations which includes the contraction of tuberculosis at some point. She shares tuberculosis is a reflection of an inability to maintain calcium in the right place in the body, which is essential to the proper functioning of the day/night cycle and night-time cleanse. This impairment over time leads to toxic buildup.

Barbara believes that any populations which have migrated to a place where they no longer receive the balance of essential fatty acids they require are more prone to this taint. Different types of essential fatty acids exist at different attitudes and a change in diet may therefore have an impact on a cellular level.

heal grief

Here’s How to Feel Better in the Fall and Heal Grief

Associated with the element of Metal is the emotion of grief. Many of us have a lot of grief, perhaps deep grief from a loss that has yet to be fully released and integrated or ancestral imprints. While we want to heal grief, this emotion has powerful messages for us that we should not neglect. Karla McLaren reminds us to “stop, drop, and grieve.” Unapologetically.


Grief is a beautiful, languid, and powerful emotion that arises when death occurs, be it actual death or the death of profound attachments, ideas, or relationships. Grief does not simply bring water to you as sadness does; grief drops you directly into the river of all souls. Grief transports you to the deepest places when you have no choice but to let go, when the loss of vital relationships or vital attachments feels like (or is) death itself.

Karla McLaren, The Language of Emotions


In Chinese medicine, the lungs are seen as the seat of depression. When lungs are weak, the intake of energy and qi is compromised and our sense of smell – and our inspiration – is congested. When we feel disconnected to our higher self and our greater environment, we are more prone to depression.

We can support our lungs and heal grief with breathing exercises and foods such as sweet potato, pears, cabbage, cardamon, broccoli, asparagus, celery, banana, and cinnamon.2


Element Metal/Air
Organs Lungs, Colon, Skin, Mind
Sense Organ Nose
Colour White
Emotion Grief
Energy “Seeking Perfection” ; Father
Energetic Times Lungs 3-5AM; Colon 5-7AM


Massage or self-massage of the Lung Meridian along the arms can help relieve stagnation. Yvonne Lau, a Hong Kong -based practitioner, suggests LU1, LU2, and LU3 to unhide the hidden. Also try holding your ring finger on either or both hands. Another Jin Shin Jyutsu self-help is to place your left hand on the front bottom of the rib cage on the left side of the body and the right hand on the right collarbone. Then move the right hand to the the front bottom of the rib cage on the right side of the body and the left hand on the right collarbone.

Always return to the breath.

From the lungs the record of man’s every thought, word, and deed passes into the blood to be carried to seed.3





1 Barbara Wren, Cellular Awakening. Hay House, 2009. p98
2 Emma Suttie, Grief and the Lungs | Dealing with Grief – A TCM Perspective. Chinese Medicine Living.
3 Alice Burmeister with Tom Monte. The Touch of Healing. Bantam Books, 1997. p101.