Autumn – Organising The Metal Element To Structure Your Life!
In the Five Element cycle the Metal phase is the energy of autumn; you may feel the need for routine and structure – to ‘get your affairs in order’, to be prepared for the winter.
Metal allows us to shine, to be brilliant, to inspire. To keep Metal balanced we need structure and routine alongside an ability to let go and allow ourselves to be supported. We need to soften our boundaries to connect with others, to be social and spontaneous, and give ourselves the time to follow our passion.
In Autumn we learn about ourselves, we are returned to our essence, it encourages us to eliminate what we no longer need, and reveal again what is most precious in our lives.
Mental & Emotional Health
Are you known for your inner strength? Or your personal integrity, discipline and rational approach to life?
A healthy Metal Element grants us the ability to interact with others yet remain our own selves. We can form strong but flexible belief systems to support and regulate our lives, and through this sense of order create harmony, and the ability to feel secure in our own self-worth.
When our Metal Element is out of balance we can have trouble letting go of past disappointments and losses and can obsessively reminisce about the past. Some Metal imbalance symptoms are grief, sadness, low self-esteem, loss of personal boundaries, obsessive-compulsive disorder, perfectionism, problems with authority and intimacy, and PTSD. People with a Metal imbalance seek respect, quality, and recognition from the outside because they feel the lack of worth within.
And just as the trees shed their leaves in the autumn it’s a good time to shed what no longer serves us too - whether it means cleaning out a cupboard, winding down a relationship, or ending a habit, finding ways to let go will help ease the transition into autumn. It is a perfect time for reflection on progress made throughout the year and to be grateful for our accomplishments.
Keep an eye out for the next post where we’ll be talking Metal Element and our physical health.
In our bodies, Metal is represented by the Lungs and Large Intestine – essentially taking in and letting go.
And so, the Metal Element governs respiration - the Lungs “grasp” Qi from the heavens and draw it inward for our body to use; and the Large Intestine has the function of eliminating what is unnecessary from our bodies - both mental and physical.
If the Metal Element is out of balance, we might be prone to respiratory issues (such as bronchitis, shortness of breath, coughs, allergies, nasal congestion, emphysema, colds, sore throats), or digestive issues (such as constipation, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain).
To maintain a healthy Metal Element our primary goal is to support the Lung meridian system and by extension the immune system. Deep-breathing techniques are your best friend here because they help the Lungs to circulate Qi around the body. Try practicing Qigong (a blend of moving meditation and exercise) for the same reason.
Food & Diet
Spice up your life!
The flavour associated with the autumn is “pungent”, which means aromatic and spicy. Pumpkin spice lattes and chai teas fall under this category. Spices likes cinnamon, ginger, clove and anise help clear the lungs from congestion and phlegm, open the airways, and stimulate proper respiratory functioning. It’s important to keep the lungs strong as they are the first line of defence against illness.
To nourish the lungs and keep the membranes healthy (which is essential for optimal immunity), make sure to stay hydrated, try sipping honey in hot water.
So long salads and watermelon ! Eating raw, cold-natured foods during the cooler months contributes to damp accumulation, which feels like congestion, heaviness, and lethargy. It’s time for nourishing soups, stews, and stir-fry dishes. The colour associated with the Metal Element is white, so try including white and spicy foods like leeks, horseradish, white onions and garlic into your cooking.
Spices counter dampness and congestion, following that theme of clear breathing and clear releasing… inspiration and letting go.
Five Ways To Tend To Our Inner Metal
- Connection. Connect with what inspires you – a good book, cooking, meeting up with friends. Connecting with what inspires us will support the spirit of the Lungs and help us feel uplifted.
- Out With The Old ! Go through your wardrobe, desk, garage, medicine cabinet and discard what you no longer need. Then donate, sell, or circulate what might be of value to others.
- In With The New ! Breathe ! Take time each day to breathe slowly and deeply. As you inhale the clean autumn air, feel yourself energized and purified. Feel the old negativity leave your body and spirit.
- Protect your neck ! In Chinese Medicine theory “Wind is the cause of 1,000 diseases”. Wind enters the body at the back of the neck “the Wind gate” and causes conditions that develop quickly and enter the lungs like colds, flus, headaches, and sore throats. Temperature fluctuations that are typically seen this time of year make us even more susceptible to Wind. Remembering to wear a scarf or hoodie offers extra protection against Wind Invasions.
- Shiatsu! Chest opening stretches are a wonderful part of a Shiatsu session.
Shiatsu should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment, but can be used alongside medical treatment.