We’ve just had the clocks go back, triggering the usual mixture of confusion, irritation, gloom (about it being all downhill until spring) and delight (about how lovely it is to get cosy of a dark evening). Whatever else can be said about this time, it’s unlikely to be something neutral. The autumn generates strong feelings in most people.
Every year I find myself in respect and admiration of the wisdom that the ancient Chinese had access to, and passed on down the generations. The autumn, in the Five Element tradition, is strongly associated with the emotion of grief – with feelings of loss, of what was or might have been. And it is associated particularly with the lungs and the large intestine, both physically and mentally/emotionally (with its focus on the lungs taking in heavenly inspiration with the in-breath, and the large intestines letting go of well … stuff, shall we say … that no longer serves us). Without fail in the autumn, people come into my treatment room with no knowledge of these traditional associations … and report heightened feelings of grief over the loss of loved ones, or of relationships, or of phases in life. Or their asthma has flared up. Or a gut condition has been causing them trouble. Or they’ve come out in a rash (the skin being the ‘third lung’ in acupuncture).
So certainly, this can be a challenging time – especially if you’ve been having a tough time with loss. But one of the beauties of oriental thinking is how paradoxical truths can hold sway simultaneously, or at least in seamless movement between extremes – it’s the fundamental basis of Yin and Yang, the shady side of the mountain and the sunny side of the mountain, which over the course of the day ‘morph’ one into the other with the passage of the sun across the sky. Night and day. Moon and sun. Water and fire. So on an autumn day, one can feel both piercing sadness at a loss and enraptured delight at the sheer beauty of the colour of the leaves and the quality of light. It is bittersweet, a poignant yet inspiring time.
And as always, each season carries within it the germ of the next season and the one after that. As the leaves start to fall, the bare branches start to reveal themselves as harbingers of the winter silhouettes which will soon show themselves against the background of an early winter sunset. And the extraordinary bounty of nature at this time – with acorns, and chestnuts and berries everywhere – contains all the seeds for next spring’s rush for new life. So too with us, if we have eyes to see beyond the moment which might hold such loss or distress – if we have ears to hear that the dry rustle of leaves under foot is just the next stage of the cycle of decay, dormancy and rebirth which carries with it new hope and new energy. We can’t have one without the other – we have to let go in order for new things to germinate in our lives.
Right now is the perfect time to come for an autumn treatment – to acknowledge, and help to move through, anything you’re having trouble letting go of.
Call me on 07970 295177, and see how it might help you “fall forward” into the next phase of your life.