Enjoy the last gasps of summer while we can (for those in the northern hemisphere). I feel glimpses of fall in the air already, that freshness that calls for reflection on what the next phase of our growth will be. Did you use the exuberant yang of summer to play, do qigong outside, expand and grow with your pure potential at its zenith? It’s your last chance to be naked in nature and do qigong outside!
Now is the time to begin to let go of that outward expansion and reflect on what is next in your life. Fall brings in the sword of discernment to determine what is nurturing your destiny and to release all of the distractions. This phase calls for us to be honest on where we’re leaking energy, such as watching too many Netflix shows, spending hours on social media, not exercising or eating well.
I feel it beckons us to reach deep into our own sense of integrity, principles and soulful lives to evaluate how we’re living in response to the world around us and in our daily relationships. This discernment and disciplined impeccability are all qualities of a strong and vibrant metal element within us which will help support us with the collective sadness that is part of our world.
The Autumn Element
Autumn is the season of the Metal element which governs the lungs and large intestine. It’s the time of harvest, reaping the gains that we sowed in spring. The energies have the quality of retraction and pulling inward, while in spring we are expanding after the deep yin months of winter. (In the southern hemisphere you’re going into the Wood element and will be planting the seeds for your new cycle to begin, though the transformational qualities of the elements can really occur at any time of year).
How do we experience Metal in nature and within ourselves? We are reminded of this element with our breath: renewing our bodies with each inhalation and releasing the old in exhalation. The minerals of the earth give our body strength, build our internal skeletal structure and nurture the nervous system. They nourish the nerve synapses and cellular structure throughout the body, as well as support a multitude of body functions.
During the fall, as the leaves change color and become compost in the earth, it is not uncommon to experience sadness, the emotion associated with the lungs. The Metal element also governs the ability to let go (large intestine) and includes the willingness to release physical and emotional wastes (including outdated beliefs). Being consumed by sadness and grief will weaken the lungs and holding onto the past will affect the colon.
The positive emotions of a strong Metal element are courage and righteousness, enabling you to harvest your own gifts and share them with the world.
In autumn the surface heat of the body begins to move inward, so it’s important to dress warmly and protect yourself (especially your neck and head) from the winds. Similarly, you must prepare your body internally during this time of encroaching coolness. Emphasize warmer foods such as root vegetables, legumes, squash, soups and dark leafy greens to build your body’s energy reserve for winter. Reduce your intake of the cooling foods of summer, such as sweet fruits, juice, and salads.
These last months of the year, I am finishing the final phase of my training in Mogadao qigong and sexuality and hope to share these new offerings next year. It’s been a year of deep growth, changes, letting go of ambition and turning inward. I too will be spending the winter focusing on new teachings and designing a sexuality and women’s qigong training. This is why you haven’t heard from me that often as I am marinating in my own transformation. I will reemerge next year with retreats and workshops so stay tuned.
This is my last retreat this year. This workshop will be totally different than the spring sexuality workshop; it will be a quiet dive into ourselves with qigong, guided Daoist meditation, Nourishing Woman qigong for the breasts and pelvis, Xi Xi Hu walking qigong and lung qigong since it will be fall. I will be teaching ovarian breathing and more qigong that I’ve never taught before. It’s an inward, nourishing, self-loving qigong journey to honor your most sacred feminine body. We’ll be back in the yurt so only 18 women can attend. It’s an all-women’s weekend so sign up now since cabins fill up fast.