As the wind blows and each leaf surrenders its last tenuous grip on the mother-tree, we enter the season of metal. It is a time of shedding what was, and the colors in nature signal and reflect this transition and change.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this is a time to support the functioning of the corresponding meridians and organs of metal—our lungs and large intestine. Both our lungs and large intestine play a strong role in how we regulate our sustenance and strength. Our lungs assist us by exhaling and expelling, out through our breath and Qi, that which we are returning to our outer ecology. Our large intestine further assists us in this removal process through our bowels. Both are essential to keeping our inner ecology clear and receptive for what is yet to come.
In TCM meridian system theory, we depend on the strength and smooth flow of our kidney qi (and adrenals) to receive each inhale, and it’s the strength of our lung qi that supports the removal of wastes through our breath on our exhales. In other words, if we’re too stressed out, we not only interfere with our body’s ability to regulate our stress hormones, we also become less able to expel toxins out through the lungs. This creates a back log of toxins that shows up in lab work as high oxidation factors on a cellular level, and impacts the strength of immunity we can maintain against pathogens. On another level, when adrenal stress hormones are high, we stay in a constant state of flight-or-flight, or freeze. This prompts our nervous systems to tell us it’s not yet time to yield to the processes of assimilation, digestion, and release in a balanced way. Then, instead of shoring up our reserves, we deplete ourselves by holding on tight or letting go too fast, creating bowel issues of constipation, diarrhea, or, ughhh,— both!
We all have stress. The theories of TCM remind us that when we engage in practices to support our lungs and large intestines at this exact time in the cycles of the year, we strengthen our reserve, and generate better function in these meridians and organs for the times ahead.
Now is an excellent time to let go of things you may still be holding that are acting as a toxins. This can be in the form of toxins left over from foods and substances that leave residue. This can also be in the form of outdated thoughts or habits that are limiting us from receiving in new ways that are nourishing.
Using breathing practices and exercises that bring aliveness and joy (swimming, dancing, yoga, hiking, etc…) with big emphasis on the JOY part IS ESSENTIAL HEALTHCARE!
And, SINGING/SOUNDING, being willing to make noises, is a big way we can release tensions and replenish our smooth flow of Qi.