Happy Autumn Equinox everyone! Today is the day that the center of the Sun spends an equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every point on Earth. On the equinox, night and day are of equal length the world over, the whole planet finding a moment of equilibrium before transitioning into the next season.
Here in Los Angeles, with the temperate weather and steady supply of sunshine, many would argue that there are no seasons. But one need only look to the flowers to see that the power and influence of the natural order exists, whether we consciously perceive it or not. One should be able to feel the change of seasons in the body as well. The feeling may be strong for some and subtle for others, but it could be as simple as paying attention to the cycle of one’s mood.
For example, if you find you have been feeling very self reflective recently, it might just be the season speaking. Autumn is considered a transitional time in East Asian medicine, the pivot between active Summer and dormant Winter. It is natural to take a look at ourselves and our boundaries, and to prioritize and conserve our energies. The autumn season belongs to the Lungs and the Large Intestines, the organs in East Asian medicine most responsible for generating appropriate boundaries. The Lungs are considered the ‘delicate’ organ; it is the only vital organ that directly touches the outside world. With every inhalation, we are literally touching the same molecules that countless others in this world have touched. It is not surprising then that in this time of year, many people find themselves thinking about their purpose, and about where they belong in this world.
The Large Intestines focus on getting rid of what is unnecessary for survival, both literally and figuratively. When strengthening one’s sense of self, it is imperative to know when and what to let go of. While the Lungs work on consolidation, the Large Intestines make room for the new by getting rid of the old. Feeling as though a drastic change needs to take place is common during this time of year.
The laws of physics state that the universe favors entropy and disorder. The problem with coming to perfect balance is that it is both very natural and very easy to fall out of balance. The Earth experiences this cycle year in and year out without spiraling into complete chaos and disarray, and we should be able to do so as well. Finding balance now not only provides an immediate sense of health and well-being, but it also ensures good health as one season progresses into the next.