When I rise up
let me rise up joyful
like a bird.
When I fall
let me fall without regret
like a leaf.
As autumn draws in, we become aware of changes around us: leaves change color, cooler air arrives, night draws in as the days shorten and in the inland northwest we begin to get rain. If we are sensitive to these rhythms internally, we can experience them as the warm expansive energy of summer gives way to the more inwardly directed energy of autumn.
Autumn is a peculiar time of the year with a fascinating double aspect. There is the abundance of the harvest in the field and then the disappearance of all of that, prior to the great leveling and seeming barrenness of winter. We are being called to balance. There is still work to be done gathering the harvest and buttoning things up in preparation for winter, but there is a call to reflection, as well. How will we use our bounty to make it through winter? How do we manage our resources, both inner and outer?
The imagery of Chinese characters here is beautifully evocative. Qiu, the character for autumn is made up of two characters, one indicating a stalk of grain with a full head, and the character for fire. Grain burnt or ripened by the fire of the sun is ready for harvest.
This can be a good time, as we are drawn more inward, to pause and reflect on what has been ripened in us, the harvest in our lives. What did you sow during this last passage of time and has the harvest been fruitful?
In the body, the Metal organs are the Lung and Large Intestine. They both share a rhythm of taking in and letting go. We cannot hold on without letting go or it can lead to stagnation and disease, diminishing our clarity and inner brilliance.
My wife and I experienced several deaths in the family this year, one physical and the other psycho-emotional. Though it is natural for the elders to pass on from this part of life, death has a way of drawing us to look inward at our own gardens, our own life’s work. Am I sowing and cultivating that which I truly desire to be the harvest of my life? Or, is it time to let go of that which no longer “grows corn” for me?
Some practical suggestions for establishing resonance with the energy of Autumn:
· Honor yourself for the hard work you do to become conscious.
· Take in the fresh air of autumn.
· Prune foods from your diet that are not supportive; deep cleansing is more appropriate to springtime.
· Clean your house, your windows, your garage; bring in light and clarity.
· Let go of things, which no longer serve you.
· Allow time for meditation, prayer and reflection, so you feel connected to something greater than the self.
· Exercises such as walking, tai chi, qigong and yoga move our bodies gently, as well as circulating our energy (though most of us have plenty of food and warmth, classically this was not true, so conserving our vitality is quite appropriate to the energetics of autumn).