Autumn reflections: a season of letting go, change and transformation
The arrival of autumn can bring a mix of emotions, as we transition from the expansive energy of summertime to the more introverted, contracting energy of autumn. This year more than ever there is perhaps a feeling of not being quite ready to slow down. A resistance and at the same time a readiness to take time and reflect on all that has happened, to let go and clear any clutter, creating space for the new.
When we study nature’s pattern and cycles, we can learn to support our own health and stay well all year round. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a therapy for the entire mind, body and spirit with a deep connection to the cycles and rhythm of nature. Each season is linked to an element, certain organs, emotions, patterns, climate, virtues, senses and an area of the body. Autumn is connected to the metal element and is characterised by the colour white, the lungs and large intestine, the emotion of grief/sadness, dryness, the nose and skin.
I love this season, embracing the changing colours of the leaves and landscapes. There is something beautiful in how the trees transform and let go, creating a blanket of vibrant, crisp leaves nourishing the fertile soil of the earth. In gardening it’s a time to harvest the crops planted in spring, prepare the ground and plant bulbs for next spring. In autumn we can learn more about ourselves, perhaps, than in any other season.
This year feels different. For me, from now until the end of the year is a time to reflect, to let go of anything that no longer serves me. At home to clear out any clutter, to organise and focus my energy. It’s a time to process and celebrate the wins of the year and to find meaning in any challenges I have faced, instilling a renewed focus in the direction I am moving in.
Many I am meeting in my work are feeling drawn to rest deeply, feeling an urge for change or adapting to changes that already happened over the past 18 months. There is a deep surrendering to the fact that life has changed in so many ways, attitudes and priorities have been re-evaluated. Many feel a reluctance to return to life as it was while others celebrate it with a fresh outlook. In autumn we can learn more about ourselves, perhaps, than in any other season.
In Chinese medicine, attachment is closely linked to the health of the lungs.
Are you holding on to any emotions? Is there something you are resisting letting go off? Are you feeling stuck in any way? Are you able to let things go easily? Is there clutter or a tendency to hoard in your living or work space?
If I asked you to take an audit of what is no longer serving you to be your best self, what habits, attributes, mindsets, limiting beliefs, attitudes, activities, relationships and material items in your life can you drop like leaves because they no longer serve the core of who you are transforming into?
As you make your list, explore and write down how they served you in the past? Did it provide you comfort? Protection? Make you happy? Be with whatever arises. Then give thanks for how it served at that time and then let them go. Letting go can carry grief with it, sadness for what was, for what could have been or for missed opportunities. It is the practice of gratitude that helps us reflect and grow and value how something served us. The lessons we’ve learned from whatever we are letting go off.
Trees don’t hold onto their leaves for next year, they let them go. There is a trust in the process and new growth will come when it is meant to. How can we hope for a harvest next year unless we let go of the old and start afresh?
Trust the process. Trust in yourself. Make space for transformation, shifting attitudes and new relationships to form that are more in line with your authentic self.
“Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree”
– Emily Bronte