A Guide To Flowing Through Fall
By Dr. Olivia Greenspan, ND
Autumn is the time when plants begin preparing for the winter. Their metabolism slows and water and nutrients are drawn into the stems and eventually the roots, causing the leaves to change to their beautiful yellow and orange colours. The leaves begin falling to the ground, leaving behind a bud for next year’s new growth.
After the busy-ness of the summer, fall is a time for us to wind down, to direct our energy inward, to become more introspective, and to let go of that which no longer has its purpose, like trees letting go of their leaves to make way for new ones in the spring. In Chinese Medicine, the organs most affected during the fall are the Lungs and Large Intestine. The Lungs breathe in the new and the Large Intestine eliminates the old. Perhaps you have been experiencing prolonged grief or frequent feelings of sadness. This may signify a weakness or a block in flow of Lung energy. Maybe you suffer from constipation and often find yourself holding on to past experiences or negativity, you can’t seem to let go physically or emotionally. You could have a block in the Large Intestine energy.
To live in harmony with the spirit of this time of year, follow these tips and find yourself moving more gracefully through the fall season:
Breathe—become aware of your breath. Get outside and fill your lungs with the cool, crisp, fresh air. Abdominal or alternate nostril breathing work well to calm the body and mind. For abdominal breathing, place your hand(s) over your belly to focus your awareness and as you inhale focus on expanding your belly with fresh air and as you exhale, bring your belly back to neutral. Practice this a few times throughout your day, it only takes a few minutes of your time.
Eat—during the fall eat less cold and raw foods and focus more on warming foods. Soups and stews are great during this cooler weather. Be sure to include these delicious fall foods regularly: squash, pumpkin, leeks, mustard greens, kale, parsnips, onion, oats, lentils, walnuts, and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, coriander, fennel seed, ginger, nutmeg and rosemary.
De-clutter—going through your closets and cupboards can be very therapeutic. Get rid of clothes you haven’t worn in ages, donate them or take them to a consignment shop where you could potentially get free clothes in exchange for your old ones. Organize and de-clutter to make space for the flow of creative energy. In Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the Japanese organizing consultant details ways to organize and simplify your home, keeping only those items that bring you joy.
Let go—just as important as de-cluttering your outer world, is de-cluttering your inner world. Letting go is one of the most difficult things to do. Most of us will hold on—to things, relationships, emotions—white-knuckled, even though we know that what we are holding on to is hurting us. Change creates uncertainty which many of us fear. Letting Go: How to Master the Art, offers an alternative view and suggestions on how to face your fears and move through this process.
While autumn reminds us that a long cold winter is looming, embrace the gifts this time of year brings. Autumn reminds us that we need to nurture ourselves, take stock of what is truly important to us, and holds possibility for an even better version of ourselves through the changing seasons.
Dr. Olivia Greenspan is currently a naturopathic doctor working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at [email protected]!