AUTUMN & the METAL ELEMENT: Self-help Resources

AUTUMN: ESSENTIAL ENERGY & MERIDIAN FUNCTION

The energy of Autumn is contractive: it compresses things down to their clear, pure essence and eliminates what is no longer useful. In so doing, it enables expansion and renewal.

FUNCTIONAL KEYWORDS:

Compression, contraction, elimination, shedding, exhalation, unloading, de-cluttering …
Expansion, space, release, absorption, renewal, purity, inspiration, optimism …
DECISION MAKING Clarity …
the GLOW
of  Vitality

Consider the lungs.

They are the principle organ of The Lung – the YIN meridian of Autumn / Metal. By means of compression, the lungs expel used air – air heavy with CO2 and other toxins. They then release the space to create a vacuum into which new, fresh, useful air – charged with vital Oxygen and KI energy – can flow.

And then there is the large intestine

As with the lungs, the large intestine is heavily involved in elimination. Less thought about is the fact that the large intestine also has a re-absorption function. It is the last port of call for crucial decision making within our digestive system. What to throw and what to keep? The organ is governed by The Large Intestine – the YANG meridian of Autumn / Metal.

AUTUMN SPIRIT & EMPTYING THE OUT TRAY

Looking beyond the mundane, bodily stuff, the meridians of Autumn have influence on a range of levels beyond the physical. All sorts of things could be ready for the exit or, at least, a make-over. This is the season of the GREAT DE-CLUTTER.
Maybe it is an eating, sleeping or even thinking habit. Perhaps your clothes, your job – possibly a relationship of some sort – are no longer serving you. It might even be some old version of you – a version that belongs to the you of yesterday or the you of your adolescence.

A healthy Large Intestine meridian gives us emotional flexibility and freedom of expression.
It allows us to let go of the old, negative stuff
calmly, with no strings attached.
It supports us in making good, clear decisions.

It is important, however, to be reflective and responsible in your decision making, to keep hold of the essentials. Don’t be too quick to judge but don’t allow yourself to cling on to things beyond their use by date.

EMOTIONAL KEYWORDS:

Autumn or “Fall” can be experienced as a bit of a SAD season, a season of GRIEF for what has been lost or has had to be let go. We may find ourselves FEELING STUCK in a rut, depressed or PESSIMISTIC.

When Metal is in harmony, however, this is replaced by OPTIMISM, HOPE and FAITH. We are supported by inner CLARITY. We know that our choices are well founded and that the cosmos will provide us with the necessary essentials.

The Lung meridian is our link to the cosmos.
Well calibrated Lung energy gives us vitality, inspiration and hope.
We know that the next breath will be there when we need it.

AUTUMN RESOURCES … your body, your energy & your quick links

For your Autumn program, the easiest and most effective starting points are our corresponding physical organs: the large intestine and lungs. Get rid of the accumulated old stuff. Encourage these organs to become more effective at both ongoing elimination and revitalizing absorption. Your entire system will thank you for it.

  • Your skin is the great unsung hero of our eliminatory system (and closely allied with Metal). It will no longer look exhausted and dull from picking up the slack when the large intestine and lungs aren’t working as well as they should.
  • Your mind will become clearer and sharper when it comes to making more complex decisions. It will know what to toss and what to keep &/or take up in other domains – emotional, intellectual & spiritual – beyond the strictly physical .

Follow the links and keep your Autumn self-care on track.

YOUR METAL BODY

Get in touch with your Metal Element

Autumn is peak season for discovering your embodied Metal Element. I suggest you start with Masunaga’s MAKKO HO for the Metal Element. This simple Zen energy exercise is designed to connect you with your two Autumn meridians as you release and tonify their energy:

  • THIS POST will give you a general idea about the Makko Ho and how best to approach them for maximum results;
  • THIS POST is specific to the Makko Ho exercise for the Autumn meridians.

Check out the Video of this exercise on MY INSTAGRAM
The MAKKO HO: Video Series 2, Part 1 – Lung/Large Intestine, May 26, 2020

Other ways to get into your Autumn body

  • Get out and move in the early morning (i.e. well before 7 am) when you can breathe in the crisp air and the rising energy of the day.
  • Invest in better breathing. This will enhance any exercise you do.

Looking for something more demanding?

Looking out for your immune system
A perennial theme for Autumn

AUTUMN FOOD …
pungent, contractive, possibly pro-biotic and definitely intense

The taste of Metal is pungent. I’m talking about foods that can make your nose run and your face contract with the intensity of it.

Maximize your intake of essential Autumn foods

  • The intense root vegetables – ginger, daikon (& other radish), parsnip, carrot, Jerusalem artichoke – are a good place to start.
    NOTE: they are even more effective if pickled / fermented
    NOTE 2: a number of them make therapeutic tea. Ginger is well known for this but Lotus root is also excellent for coughs, laryngitis and dissolving excess mucus.
  • Cabbage, like the sexy purple one above, is a marvelous food for Autumn, particularly fermented as a pro-biotic sauerkraut – although it is also goes well simply cooked in a soup.
  • Looking for something stronger? You could try horseradish or umeboshi plum.
  • Better still, combine the umeboshi with some stewed pears in kuzu – the best home remedy for soothing chest infections &/or lower intestine irritation.
    Kuzu, a kind of Japanese arrowroot, can be used as a thickener in all sorts of dishes sweet or savoury. It is exceptionally good for toning the lining of both lungs and intestines.
  • Miso soup – particularly for breakfast – is an essential Autumn standby food that supports lower intestine function

On the flip side, there are foods you would do well to minimize

Try to avoid aged and processed food/drink products (particularly those based on animal or flour products) and dead white starch in general. Be wary also with commercially fermented products. They don’t always have active enzymes in them and don’t always age as they should. Pungent is one thing, rotten is another.
The rule of thumb: stay away from anything that will clog your passages and clog your judgement.
The more effective your colon and lungs are at eliminating and revitalizing the clearer your mind and the sharper your focus when it comes to working through some of life’s more difficult decisions.

And then there is the preparation

Autumn is time to bring out the pots and pans and get into the slower, energy-infusing cooking methods. You can even double cook your whole grains to make nourishing breakfast porridge. The salad days are numbered; bring on the veggie bake and the dutch oven casserole and soup.

For more ideas on how you can prepare these foods and links to some great recipes have a look at this post: Transition Foods: Autumn into Winter

A FEW MORE TIPS FOR AUTUMN TLC

  • If your large intestine is giving you some digestive difficulty – moderate or severe – you could try exploring some acupressure points in the forearm. LI 11 is also great for resolving pain or tension in the upper body / limbs.
  • You might also like to investigate those key Lung points around the front of the shoulder. Lung 1 & 2 are excellent for dispersing tension / fullness in the chest and useful generally for breathing difficulties.
    They are also essential for the gathering and meridian flow of heavenly KI – and who wants to miss out on that!
  • And then there is the Ginger Foot Bath – the best ever treat for the colder weather. It is deeply relaxing, cleansing and energizing. It will stimulate the circulation and help rebalance the body energetics.
    Best of all, it feels fantastic.

Whatever you do, keep yourself warm in the cooling weather and make the most of the season in which you find yourself – AUTUMN.