We’re welcoming autumn and we can gleam some wisdom from looking at this time through an eastern lens.
According to the Chinese Almanac, Autumn begins August 7, though we don’t actually transition from summer to autumn until September 7 2021. In between we are still getting the intense late summer heat, though this too comes to an end on August 22. You may already have felt the shift of energy and temperature. I’ve noticed cooling breezes, especially at night, even while the days can still be blistering hot.
What is autumn according to Chinese cosmology?
In western philosophy, the Autumn relates to the Air element. We mark it with the Autumn Equinox, another turn of the wheel of Life. Through the eastern lens, we see Autumn as relating to various organ function and meridian energies.
In Chinese cosmology, Autumn corresponds to the Lung and Large Intestine meridian and organ family, the element/movement of Metal, and the colour white. Like the trees in autumn, the time is for letting go, conserving energy and moving inward in preparation for Winter.
Letting go has been a global practice this past year on a level we have not yet experienced. We’re all learning about letting go of what was “normal”, of old beliefs and paradigms, of attachments and any relationships that are no longer aligned. We are also increasingly looking at our dependencies in relationships and on institutions and authority figures. Where have we given our power away to? Where does this fear of death and need to control life reside within us?
It takes courage; this is what we strengthened in the summer season, with the Heart and Leo energy. To know what is correct for us (or not) means to be in our body, in our heartspace, and anchored in our discernment. There is no judgment of good or bad. It’s a recognition of what’s for us and what’s not. Other people cannot know what’s for us and we cannot for them. Personal sovereignty.
Perhaps the biggest lesson now and moving into the coming months and the new cycle is letting go of the idea that my reality is the same as yours. We each process what we see through our own filters built from past experiences. We can respect another person’s decision, even if it diverges from our own. Imagine a world, where every individual is able to make decisions that align them with their life path. A world where life force is honoured and respected. That’s the life force of all beings, including Mother Earth. This means no one will be pressured to do something that depletes them and their uniqueness is celebrated. Our creative energy will be channelled to forward evolutionary movement. In this world, we are allowed and encouraged to be exactly who we are.
This level of awareness, I believe, is where we are moving to. These times of trials, chaos, uncertainty, and confusion reflect the mobility of energy, support of releasing work, and the potentiality of great change.
Grief & Autumn, An eastern Thought
Aside from corresponding with Lung and Large Intestine energies, in eastern philosophy Autumn also corresponds with an emotion or attitude. It is sadness and grief. Isn’t it interesting as the northern hemisphere moves into Autumn, the southern hemisphere begins Spring, a youthful, expansive, growth energy? It’s something to remember – in totality, there is always balance.
When we hang on, clutching to the past, and gripping on the illusion of control, we experience deep grief. It is absolutely normal to grieve over the loss of someone, some aspect of life. It’s part of how we come to understand and accept what it is to be human. As they say, change is inevitable. In fact, our cells die and are born all the time, a process we aren’t consciously aware of.
So if you have something yet to be released and yet to be forgiven, it may rise to the surface for your attention in the fall season. Maybe this year. The energy is supportive of you to release them, if you are ready. As we know, the grieving process is not linear and there is no set time period. Even moments years after a loss, sadness can arise. The difference then is likely a smile will cross your face as the happy, funny, and heartwarming memories overtake you, along with gratitude and love.
There is a difference between holding on out of fear and having a long process because it just is naturally.
Why are we not letting go?
Why are we not letting go is a complex situation. We are each unique, including the conditioning and homogenizing forces in our lives, our coping strategies, our inherited patterns, etc. One area we can examine is our fears and attachments.
Relating to the human life stages, the fall corresponds with middle/later ages, before the final years of Winter. This is a time where some people may experience greater health challenges, exhausted and maybe even bitter from running in a rat race that makes no sense. It can be realizing that their childhood dreams remain untouched and their demons unvanquished. It can be a sad time for those who have not yet begun to digest what has transpired. They are full, yet unfulfilled. The closet in the hallway is stuffed full of dusty photo albums, broken clocks, unread books, unopened gifts, sports equipment no longer used, and forgotten toys. The space within is filled with emotional baggage, fears, guilt, shame, and everything that remains hidden in the subconscious.
To let go means to allow a part of us to be dissolved. This may be an identity that was once rewarding. Or a relationship where we felt so loved we worry this kind of love may never come again. Perhaps it’s coping strategies that allowed us to survive, and even thrive. Even as we feel we do not belong in this world.
Dissolving an identity can be scary as it can feel like annihilation. To not exist. Can we exist when we no longer have this level of ego-identity?
What we may have forgotten is that we are also letting go of the shoulds, just-in-case’s, saving-for-a-rainy-days, and anything that we are keeping out of fear. It’s releasing what is not aligned with us, what we have not, cannot, and do not wish to digest and assimilate.
Jin Shin Jyutsu & Autumn Energy
In Jin Shin Jyutsu, the Lung and Large Intestine Function Energies are part of the Second Depth. A depth is an energy density, as we become more and more solid, spirit into the physical. The Second Depth is the element of air and its keynotes are breath, common sense, harmony, and rhythm.
In the Second Depth, the big Breath Essence becomes our personal breath, which we receive through the lungs. This breath connects all the dimensions and layers within us: spirit, mind, and body belong together. Breath also connects us to cosmic energy.
The Second depth is about being balanced in all things, balancing spirit, mind, and body. Challenges in any one of these levels indicates imbalance. The question is are we seeing the cause or the effect? Being balanced means allowing what is heavy within us to be enlightened through digestion, acceptance, and forgiveness.
It is insightful to take a look at the Lung and Large Intestine Function Energies. In Jin Shin Jyutsu, we work with a flow or a sequence of energy locations on the body. With the Lung Function Energy, we end with the energy location 13, which is about regeneration and transforming life on a deep level. The Large Intestine Function energy ends with energy location 22, which when in balance supports our adaptability in life. It helps us to “allow everything to touch me because I give it all away again. I am easy, I can handle it. I don’t hold onto things . I trust and embrace life.”
Energy locations 13 and 22 give us an idea of what is possible when we let go and when we move through our grieving process. Both of these allow us come to a place of integration, wisdom, and balance.
Tips for welcoming and embracing Autumn:
(Re)Discover Your Inspiration
The air we breathe in has been circulating for a very long time. This reminds us that we are not an island; we are all connected. We are breathing through each other. From the Latin word, spirare (“to breathe“), came the word inspirer (“to breathe or blow into”) which is the likely origin of to inspire.
What are you breathing in? What are you allowing in? What inspires you? And what are we breathing out into the world? Are you breathing like the trees? Moving through its stages of inspiration for all of us?
According to Human Design, for the majority of people, the Head Centre (one of our nine energy centres) is undefined. This means that we don’t have a set or defined way to process this energy, the ideas and questions that we receive. Without awareness of what is correct for us, it is easy for the people with the defined Head Centre to condition the majority about what to think about, what to dream about, and what to be inspired by.
This autumn, I invite you to let go of ideas of the form inspiration comes in. Be present with yourself and be aware of any internal and external pressures to be inspired. Allow it to arise, and check in to see if it’s yours to act on.
The individual atoms making up those molecules, however, have been on earth for a long time. So every breath you take and every bite you swallow is composed of atoms that have been here for a long time.
So, while you aren’t likely to ever share exactly the same atom of oxygen as Bgrad Pitt or eat a cupcake that was once a part of Caesar’s toenail, every breath you take has, at one time or another, been associated with another living organism.
Dr Martin St Maurice, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Marquette Magazine
Embrace Your Flow
Perfectionism can arise from a Metal imbalance, in an attempt to correct the sense of a flawed inner-self by polishing up the exterior.
So many people strive for perfection. Some may not begin a project until everything is in place. Does this delay stem from a lack of trust of self? Is it because of fear of rejection? Or an intuition that it is not yet time?
Out of balance, there is a lack of discipline or rigidity. This can be how a person approaches life on a physical, emotional, or spiritual level. Are you anal about neatness? Or do you have hoarding tendencies which have bloomed into chaos and mess?
We see the beauty of autumn in the turning of leaves from green to golds and auburns. Yes, there is beauty in letting go. As we see from the eastern philosophy, as with Autumn, we have internal processes focused on letting go. It is a necessary part of life.
Letting go reflects a trust in life that it’s time, knowing that everything has a season. Life goes on and the mystery unfolds. It’s a reminder for us to embrace the flow of life, without overly focused or obsessed with any one detail.
Do you experience respiratory challenges? When we are stressed, most people tend to breath shallowly. Do you sometimes catch yourself holding your breath? This is a contraction. Has it become chronic or automatic? The way we breathe has been under mandates and legislations these past 18 months. Fear-inducing campaigns have made many people afraid to breathe deeply or breathe close to another person, with the stay-at-home mandates disconnecting us in many ways. Of course, the human species is resilient and we’ve discovered new ways to connect authentically.
When we contract, we also pull back. This can increase anxiety levels as the fear of the unknown and “the other” deepens still. An imbalance in Lung and Large Intestine energies can manifest as skin challenges. In Jin Shin Jyutsu, Second Depth relates to deep skin.
The fall is a beautiful season as Mother Earth changes her wardrobe for a golden robe, eventually disrobing in Winter as she retreats within, to allow what has been let go, to truly die to another season. For some people, the fall is their favourite season. The cooler weather and the changing season vistas, for example, are a popular time for travels. It’s when many kids return to school, moving up another year. It’s exciting.
Reflecting this outer process of letting go in Autumn is the inner one as we can see from this particular eastern philosophy.
For some people, autumn is more challenging.
Perhaps this is an invitation to sit with the changing energy, the slowing down as we move toward Winter. If you are struggling with the themes of the season, this may be the time to work within yourself to see what is possible. If you have lost someone this year or recently, please do take care. There are countless resources, such as homeopathic remedies, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Nutripuncture, and osteopathic/chiropractic adjustments that can support you through your process.