Living with the Seasons! – This dynamic way of living with the seasons is most beautifully expressed in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Autumn is my earliest recollection of feeling the connection with nature; I was also born in the autumn. It is the season when energy settles into the earth. The leaves fall from the trees and everything stops growing. The life-giving light of the spring and the summer begins to wane, and the vigorous energy of those seasons comes to an end. There is almost a beautiful sadness to autumn if that makes sense to you.
As a child, one of my fondest memories of this season was watching the farmers bringing in their harvest; the hard work that they had painstakingly struggled with during the many months since the spring had now come to fruition. Seeing the large bales of hay being stacked in the fields in neat rows makes a pretty picture. When we visited the country we used to go to the harvest festivals where we would all take huge baskets of fruits, vegetables and food to give to the sick or the poor.
Chestnuts would fall from the trees and nourish us in many ways. Roasting them over an open fire was a delicious way to enjoy them. Or we would amuse ourselves for hours on end playing games with them, by piercing a hole in the chestnut and threading through a piece of string, and challenging an opponent to endless games that we’d make up. That was an autumn event in my neighbourhood.
Deep Stretches with Marlene
As temperatures fall and the evenings draw in, our motivation to exercise is less apparent. It is important though to stretch out the muscles of the body and get plenty of aerobic exercise. Breath is your life! When I started my studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) I adored how each season resonates with certain organs of the body. As we move from season to season we need to be aware of strengthening and balancing these organs for optimal health.
The corresponding organs for the METAL element are the Lungs and Large Intestine. The Lungs expel carbon dioxide, and the Large Intestine eliminates solid residue. If these wastes are not eliminated frequently, the skin can be affected. The skin is sometimes referred to as the ‘third lung’ – it is part of the METAL element and can reflect sluggish bowels. The bowels are one of the most important routes of elimination for self-cleansing and work together with the kidneys, bladder, lungs and skin to help eliminate waste efficiently from the body.
The Never Ending Beauty of Nature
In nature, autumn reflects dryness: when the leaves lose their moisture, they shrivel up and ‘let go’ of the branches they have hung on to since springtime. It is therefore the time to reflect on the past year and to prepare to withdraw as the winter months close in.
It is very important to protect the back of the neck from the wind, which is gradually getting colder, otherwise you will be more susceptible to minor illnesses after the summer months. If there is an imbalance in the lungs, you can experience breathing difficulties; this indicates that there may be unresolved issues connected to the emotion of grief, which corresponds to the METAL element.
Coughs, colds and sore throats are all connected to problems with METAL energy. There are some special drinks listed below for healing the Lungs but one of the principal foods for healthy lungs are leafy green vegetables. Adding a little ginger, garlic and radish to your food can stimulate the Lungs. A hot compress such as a ginger compress or a mustard plaster can stimulate the energy in stagnant Lungs. See my blog in the Home Remedies Section on how to make a ginger compress.
Breath is Our Life
? Doing exercises that open up the chest and shoulder areas can get the Lung energy moving again, as well as breathing exercises. It seems so silly to say it, but if you want to get healthy Lungs there is one thing you must do – breathe! Doing aerobic exercises, such as fast walking, bicycling and swimming, is great.
For congestion in the lungs …… try steamed greens and ginger – the steamed greens move energy up and the ginger moves energy out. Steam the greens until vibrant green and then squeeze some freshly grated ginger juice on top. Sprinkle with gomashio. Also, try parsley tea – the parsley moves energy up and out.
My book ‘Macrobiotics for all Seasons’ covers recipes, home remedies and medicinal teas for each season, available world-wide on Amazon. I wish you good ‘chi’ as we approach the colder months of this season. Stay warm, eat well and move your body. Life is precious, enjoy each day and live it as if it were your last. I do!
In good health