This fantastic article was written by Angela Warburton, a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, speaker, writer, and teacher. We encourage you to check out her website here, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
We tend to run from our sadness. We push it away, medicated it, ask ourselves what’s ‘wrong’ when we’re not cheery, chipper and filled with energy and diving into the world head first all the time.
In Chinese Medicine, every part of our life -our emotions, our lifestyle, diet, genetics, and stressors – play a part in our internal state of balance, health and vitality. Sometimes we need to be out engaging in the world, and sometimes we need to go in, to rest, to be quiet and still. Sometimes we are filled with Joy, energy, and vigor. Sometimes we are not.
We don’t tend to honor this quiet, still, introverted time in western culture. We pop ourselves full of stimulants like coffee and sugar or medicate ourselves so we can soldier on and go about life as normal keeping the same pace year round.
So often people tend to think there’s something terribly wrong the moment they don’t want to get out of bed one day or find themselves crying ‘for no reason.’
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Grief (just like anger, joy, fear, hope, inspiration and gratitude) is a normal part of being human. Grief offers us the gift of letting go of what is no longer working in our life (a job, a lifestyle, a relationship), it can be the deep honoring of someone dear to us who has passed away or grieving some other loss.
Grief in Chinese Medicine is the emotion belonging to the Metal element that shows up in the fall around harvest times. It is part of the lung system and has a natural contracting and inward quality to it.
This will often show up with a desire to stay inside, cozy up or get a little quiet and less social. It can also show up as a low-level melancholy that people can’t quite put their finger on.
Metal as an element can be molded into several forms, one of which could be that of a knife. A knife which can be used to cut away that which is not serving us. A gentle (or sometimes harsh) severing of what is no longer working or needed.
I know that some of the most significant times of change in my life (times that got me to where I am today and on a path, I feel very strongly is the perfect place for me to be) were usually triggered by times of deep sadness.
This often involved me sobbing on my kitchen floor as I sank to my knees knowing how I was living and what I was doing, as much as it had suited me at one point, was no longer working. I had to cut away what was no longer true for me and venture into the unknown but trusting that I was being directed to a better place.
The other way metal can show up is through precious metals found deep within the earth, deep within ourselves. The nuggets of gold that, when we allow ourselves to stop and go in, to look deep inside, we get to see what unique gifts we have been given and what gems we have to offer the world and ourselves.
Letting Go Of The Seasons
I know so many people that struggle with the letting go of the bright, warm, social summer months (for it is the season of Joy in Chinese Medicine after all), but just like the desert who dries out and burns out with too much light and energy, too much of that outward time will also burn us out.
The slightly darker days and cooler weather guides us inside – for cozy teas and soups and fire-side time, but also to go a little deeper into our inner world. And if we embrace this natural sadness and letting go that happens, preparing ourselves for the deep stillness and rest of the winter months, we’re able to build up our reserves to embark on new journeys and engage with the budding of new ideas that, so naturally happen with the spring energy.
So this fall, instead of fighting with your sadness or the desire to sleep or to rest more, tries to embrace it. Perhaps curl up with a book all day or have a quiet inside day with your family forgoing outside excursion, classes or trips, and surrender to deep quiet and stillness your body and soul so deeply crave.
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