Since the eclipse in August, there have been a multitude of natural disasters around the world with hurricanes, fires, floods and now another human atrocity at Las Vegas. The mythologist and wise storyteller, Michael Meade, sent this quote in a recent post:
“In the great drama of life the awakened human soul becomes the extra quantity and uniquely living quality needed to help tip the balance of the world towards ongoing creation.”
– Michael Meade
I feel it calls on all of 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 guide us with the collective sadness that is part of our world.
The ancient Chinese, as well as all indigenous cultures around the world, have lived with the awareness that humans are inseparable from Nature and each other. They believed their survival depended on the environment (and community), so they became attuned to the seasons and phases inherent in the natural world around them. By attuning to these energies of nature, it is possible to prevent and even heal disease, balance the emotions, as well as reconnect with our innate spirituality.
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 now in the Wood element and will be planting the seeds for your new cycle to begin).
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 aid the communication of 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.
I like to do a gentle colon cleanse in early fall. I usually eat steamed veggies, vegetable juices and warm water with apple cider vinegar. I like Brenda Watson’s colon cleanse which is an herbal protocol available in most health food stores, but pick any program that you like. The herbs help to cleanse your intestines and are more effective with a restrictive diet: no gluten, sugar, corn, dairy, soy, alternative milks…just veggies for a week.
Qigong Attunement – Metal Element
It’s time to focus on lung qigong and the metal element in your practice. Of course all qigong will benefit the lungs, but here’s the 6 healing sound for the lungs from my Spirit of Qi Gong DVD. Also add the “soothing the middle” abdominal massage from my Women’s Qigong for Health & Longevity book pg. 95. It’s in the PMS chapter where most of you would not be looking–feels like a past life to me!
And click here to see my video Instructional Qigong: Lung Healing Sound