Chinese medicine theory includes the use of metaphors relating our health to the seasons. Autumn is the element of metal; the organs involved are lung and large intestine. It is a time of letting go; just as the leaves fall from the trees and we prune our plants; we must also “prune” that which is no longer needed. This can be old ways of thinking, habits, and lifestyle choices. When we prune trees for the winter, we are helping to bring all the energy of the tree to her roots. This helps the tree or plant survive the long cold nights. We humans also need to think about what which will help us to survive the winter, and how can we nourish our root qi. Eat warm cooked food, as opposed to raw cold foods. Eat root vegetables and lean meats. Eat sour foods such as, sauerkraut, olives, pickles, leeks, aduki beans, black beans, lemons, pears and apples. Go to bed earlier and awake with the sun.
It is also the time to acknowledge the past year, your accomplishments, your joys and sorrows, and your lessons learned. In a sense, to reap the benefits of your harvest. Then to lay the soil to rest. Giving yourself permission to rest this winter. Be willing to go inward and trust that the trees and plants are not dead, but resting. Just as you can trust that going inward and nurturing your qi will help you to sprout new growth in the spring.
Enjoy the darkness and trust the process of renewal!