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By Jen Bowers
In Chinese medicine, each season is affiliated with an organ system
and each organ system is associated with both a spiritual and an
emotional aspect. Each time the seasons change, we have an opportunity
to nourish and support our bodies by validating and recognizing the
feelings that go with these organs.
Fall is linked with the lungs. Lungs are associated with grief and sadness.
It's not a coincidence that All Souns Day and Samhain occur in the
autumn. It is natural to feel a bitter sweetness or sense of loss as
summer turns to winter. Fall is not all about loss though: it is also
about a deep sense of connection. It is like sunset - we acknowledge
that another day has passed, but look forward to a new sunrise the next
morning. The spiritual aspect of autumn involves the corporeal soul - the sense
of spirit that is tied to our bodies. While summer was a time to
rejoice and celebrate, we can not help but feel a little more serious as
we prepare to survive another winter - we must gather food and
resources to make it until next spring. Fall is the perfect time to
contemplate and acknowledge the losses in our lives, but also to remind
ourselves of all the good that is still to come. Rituals thanking our
ancestors, mentors, family, lost children or pets are wonderful for this
time of year. Even just flipping through old photos with friends or
family can be a lovely way to express thanks for the gifts and blessings
you have in your life.Fallis about gratitude and thanksgiving.
Winter is associated with the kidneys, the source of growth and reproduction.
Kidneys are often linked to “fear”, but a more accurate translation of
this Chinese character is vigilance or anticipation. Like a seed that
hides underground during the winter, or a child growing in the womb,
winter is not a time of complete dormancy, but of quiet growth. We pool
our resources, take time to nurture ourselves and tuck into cozy clothes
to not squander warmth. While for some winter is associated with death,
in Chinese medicine we think of it as hibernation. We should be
spending more time indoors in the winter. Especially after the holidays,
this is a time of year when people become less social, more insular. The
spirit that is associated with winter is the will. In the not-so-recent
past, we would have spent the year growing crops and planning how to
survive a long winter, and how we must have the will power to outlast
the snow and cold. The virtue of the kidneys is wisdom - honor yourself
and your accomplishments. Take time to contemplate the future. Shower
those near to you with love. Make plans for the future; take advantage
of a less busy social calendar to tackle a new skill. Learn to paint,
try a new instrument or pick up an old one.
Here’s to you and everything you’re good at!