The days darken, the temperature drops – The cold and dry autumn is upon us. It’s a windy week here in Melbourne. The last of the autumn leaves are blowing from the trees and I am reminded of Po; The spirit of the metal element living in our Lungs. Belonging to the metal element indicates a conductivity and changeability, as well as strength and durability; the capacity to transmit and to mold, without losing itself.
Po defines our selves, separating us from the outside world through our skin and our breath. Po is sensitive to external stimuli, both physical and emotional. Therefore Po is linked to all sensations and emotions, but primarily the feelings of sorrow, grief and depression – an inability to let go of feelings. In Autumn, people are more sensitive physically to hay-fever, colds and flu, especially as the seasons change (Summer to autumn and autumn to winter). Emotionally, people start to turn inward for the colder and darker days of Winter…
There are two ways in which Po can be unbalanced:
Loss of Self
A desire to be connected to the outside world, to give and receive to society – as easily as we give and receive breath – can lead to fuzzy borders around our self. We lose touch with our own borders, boundaries and structure. We lose sense of our place in the world.
Sensitivity to others needs and wants can make us feel resentful and empty, so we build walls around ourselves to stop the barrage of incoming stimuli. This over-protection of ourselves creates rigidity and an inflated ego, with no apparent concern for the world around us.
When Po is in balance, we have a certain wisdom that allows us to experience and feel any stimuli that comes our way in life – emotionally and physically – whilst simultaneously maintaining a strong sense of ourselves and our place in the world. Just like the gold that softens to mold then returns to its strong and solid form (potentially in a brand new shape!) The wisdom of Po gives us the courage to know that all sensations (emotional, energetic, physical, etc) we let ourselves feel will pass and just like the simplicity of the breath, we can choose to take them in, then let them go.
Through spring and summer the leaves are a tree’s lifeblood – rich and green, receiving sunshine and water. Now, in autumn they are dried, brittle and old. No longer beneficial, they are becoming a burden on the tree. The trees use the wisdom of Po to drop the old leaves, knowing that unless they let go of these, there is no room for new leaves to grow. Similarly autumn is a time for us to have the courage to let go of any sensations/feelings/stimuli which have passed, yet we are still holding onto.
The beautiful perfection in this life cycle of a tree is that the dried, brown leaves make the best compost! By letting go of these leaves, the tree is actually creating new life for itself. Just as when we let go of energetic baggage, it is returned to the universe to feed new life into us. The continual flow of energy, giving and taking, never ceasing.
As Winter blows in, let us have the courage of the trees: To let go of old experiences, clearing ourselves of energetic and emotional burdens, for winter. Sometimes all we need to do is acknowledge what we have been holding onto, in order to let it go.
And remember, every breath is a new opportunity to let go of old Qi and welcome in fresh new Qi, and with it a new life experience.
– Pungent (slightly spicy) foods help to clear ‘Wind’ from the Lungs: Basil, Cinnamon, Coriander, Black Pepper, Garlic, Ginger, Onion.
– When sick with cold or flu, eat simple foods that are easy to digest: Soups and broths, brown rice, warm foods. Nourish the Stomach and Spleen with anything orange (carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin)
– Stay hydrated – Autumn is a dry time so drink lots of water (slightly warmed) and tea.
– Practice taking a few minutes in your day (especially beneficial when you first wake up) to consciously fill your lungs with fresh, vibrant Qi and breathe out anything you would like to let go of. Use sounds or movement to shake off your old, dried leaves.
– Remember that feelings are here to be felt. Have the courage to feel the feelings, let yourself cry or laugh, whatever you feel! Then notice afterwards how the feeling may have shifted and can be let go.
– The Six Healing Sounds Practice (I find this especially helpful if I have a cold.) To release what I need to let go of emotionally and call in positive emotions.
– Bodywork: Massage, Yoga, Qi Gong, Exercise, etc. To initiate energetic/emotional releases and ground them into the physical body.
– Earth Flow Shiatsu – To get the whole process done in one easy and relaxing session! Po loves Earth Flow!