September 27th, 2018
Every season brings shifts.
These shifts can be experienced as abrupt or subtle. During this seasonal transition, you too may also feel an abrupt or subtle pull within you to shift, change, or transform. This is an invitation to shift into the fall season. A time to embrace the transformation it brings and live in accordance with the season.
I experience the pull by the natural world as it shifts into fall, and I especially felt it strongly while I was studying Chinese Medicine in the mountains of North Carolina. This may have been due to my studies about the Five Elements of Chinese Medicine. The five elements are all around us. They are fire, earth, water, metal and wood. Each peeks during their associated season and possesses a transformation and transition of its own. We just left the fiery season of summer, and now reside in cooler metal. Winter will give us water, and spring shows us wood, while early summer sets us bare foot on the earth.
The shift into fall is unique because it is home to an equinox. An equinox occurs twice in the calendar year. It is the moment in time when the sun shines directly on the center of our earth (the equator). This causes day and night to be the same length. Since the equinox only occurs for one minute twice a year. This natural shift is distinct.
In this post, I share with you three ways I shift with fall.
1. Prepare Your Body
While in fall, we welcome cooler weather. Its chill is first noticed in the early morning and late evening. As our external environment cools, our internal environment cools as well. We can no longer rely on the heat of the summer to warm us. As we shift into fall, we now need to rely on foods and beverages to provide our body with the warmth it needs. Yes, this means that we need to say goodbye to raw fruits and vegetables. Only for now.
Warm up with these foods:
- Mustard greens
- Sweet potato
- Black beans
- Aduki beans
- Fresh ginger
- White peppercorn
During the fall season, it is best to enjoy foods that are baked, sautéed, or cooked in a Crock Pot. Let’s not forget fall equals soup season too!
Have you ever experienced cold hands and feet? This occurs because the warmth in your body is being sent to protect your organs. Therefore, there’s not enough internal warmth to circulation to our extremities. In order for our body and our organs to function properly, it need to be warm. Our organs take priority, and as a result our hands and feet feel cold.
We alleviate cold hands and feet by adding more warmth to our internal body. When we add more warmth, there’s enough for our internal organs and our extremities (hands and feet). When there’s enough to go around, all part of our body feels warm!
The foods listed above will warm up our body. Pick your favorites from the list and enjoy! I tend towards warm soup, a cup of ginger tea, and a simple bowl of rice, broccoli, and beef.
Due to the cooler temperatures, our physical body often struggles to keep up. This means that we are more susceptible to colds and flus. Now is the time to charge your internal army and to protect yourself from pathogens. This can be done by following the dietary recommendations above and also with herbs and supplements.
2. Reflect on Months Past
As we transition into fall, we’re nearly three-fourths of our way through the calendar year. By this time, much has been accomplished and experienced in our lives. Rather than put it all behind us and carry on, I encourage you to take the early part of fall to reflect on the previous eight months.
This process of reflection is an opportunity to acknowledge and honor our experiences. It also leads us towards appreciation and gratitude for all that we have been through. We are where we are now because of it.
For me, once the fall equinox comes and goes, I feel a sense of settling. The fiery summers season that heated my body and my social calendar slow comes to a close. The shorter days and cooler mornings and evenings simply lead me to slow down. Once this transition is recognized, I make time to reflect on the months past. I take an evening, two, or maybe even three to acknowledge my accomplishments, disappointments, major events, frequented emotions, and where I spent most of my time. I write while I take myself through this reflection. The process of writing solidifies the past few months and encourages a deeper sense of recognition and understanding. If writing isn’t for you, any art form or creative process will do. Let your art be a reflection of your months past.
Chat with friends and family about your own reflection and theirs. Laugh, smile, cry, feel heaviness, and peace for all that has come and gone. We cannot go back, but we can go forward with a better understanding of our choices and their outcomes.
Personally, this past year has welcomed a new journey in a twice familiar city. Before arriving, I left a city I never expected fall in love with. I became an aunt. I said goodbye to old relationships and slowly welcomed new ones. At times these past 9 months, I doubted myself, and felt confused only to then settle into stability, freedom, and curiosity.
What have you experienced this past year?
3. Refresh Your Home
One of my favorite ways to welcome the fall season is by refreshing my home. Similar to spring cleaning, fall encourages us to reduce and eliminate. It’s the perfect time to make physical space for what will be needed this winter.
My personal refresh often takes place over several weeks. I’ll do a little here and a little there. I rarely commit a whole day(s) to this refresh because I want to feel at ease and a sense of discernment throughout the refresh. First, I like to clean out junk drawers and the refrigerator, pull clothes for donation, dust, and reorganize. In addition to reducing and eliminating, I’ll refresh my home by inviting the cool fall air in by opening the windows. I’ll also move furniture around, bring out cozy blankets, and maybe spring for a new rug, lamp shade, or plant.
This refresh is all yours! To help you along, check out this book on Feng Shui. In the meantime, here are a several questions you can ask yourself while refreshing your home:
- When was the last time I used or wore this?
- Would someone else get better use out of this?
- Can this item be placed somewhere else for better access and use?
- Why I am holding on to this?
- If I had more space, what would I want to fill it with or would it be better empty?
- Is there an area of my home that is crowded or cluttered?
- Would it be possible to move more easily through a room by reorganizing it?
- If I could add something new to my space, what would it be?
Share your home refresh experience with friends and family. It’s something different to do. I love to incorporate others’ suggestions, especially when it comes to design and reorganizing. By sharing this process with your friends and family, you’ll add little pieces of them to your home.
Shift like you’ve never have before this fall. Fall is the season that invites us to prepare our physical bodies for colder months and one that makes space for reflection and a refresh.
I hope you found this post useful and will considering shifting into fall one, two or maybe three of the ways that I like to. And for you, how do you like to shift into fall?
Disclaimer: This information is intended for general reference only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice. The content in this post intentionally does not provide dosage information or possible interactions with prescription drugs or other medications. Please contact a certified health practitioner such as a physician of Oriental Medicine or Herbalist before considering use. To schedule an appointment with Malerie, visit the services page.