The transition into a new season is an opportunity for us to realign with our body's natural rhythm.
In both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines, humans are seen as a microcosm of the macrocosm. That's to say that the human body is a projection of the world around us. When we fall out of sync with our environment, we fall out of sync with our natural state of health, and essentially we drift out of balance. Each season is linked with a different element, organ pair, and emotion. Fall is associated with the metal element, the lungs and large intestine, and grief.
Transitioning from summer to fall can be a particularly stark transition. We've spent months in a state of high energy, enduring long days, high temperatures, and less sleep, and now we are beginning to move inward.
In order to get to that place where we can rebuild our energy and find introspection, we must look at the things, patterns, situations, and feelings we've acquired over the past year or longer that may no longer be serving us and let them go. Think of the trees that line the streets in the fall. The leaves change color, dry out, and eventually drop off. If they didn't, the tree would not be able to continue growing. It's a cycle that shows the impermanence of things, and it's one that we as humans must go through as well.
Here are some ways to sync up with the season and get in touch with yourself this fall:
1. Slow down.
Honor the shorter days and your natural decrease of energy. You've expended so much energy over the summer months, and coming down from that high can be difficult. We resist it because we live in a society that craves stimulation and action. Fall is less about external action and more about taking an internal inventory of where we are in this moment. Adopting a meditation practice is a great way to honor this. Try sitting in stillness for 10 minutes once a day to start. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment.
2. Eat warm foods.
Summer is all about cool and refreshing foods that keep the fire element in check. Those foods likely won't serve you come fall. This season, look for pumpkin, beets, carrots, turnips, squash, and other root vegetables that can warm you from the inside out. The lung organ loves pungent flavors, so adding warming spices like cinnamon and ginger to your recipes is another great idea this time of year.
3. Shift your relationship with grief.
It may be an uncomfortable emotion for most of us, but grief is natural and impermanent. If you allow yourself to let go of what is no longer, you make room for all the things that are in alignment with your true, authentic path. Note that when I speak of grief here, I'm speaking of it in terms of not just death but of anything that doesn't serve this present moment or has an attachment to the past. Let it go, and then grieve its loss. Although it may not seem like it, this is a natural process that the mind and body want and need to go through. It isn't about losing something but rather allowing space for expansion and growth.