Just like the seasons and our bodies – all of life is cyclical. There is a time to let go, a time to grow, a time to shine bright, and a time process and rest. These cycles connect us, they move through us, and if we let them – they can also work for us.
Throughout this article, we will explore each element through a Chinese medical lens, within its very own season, and how it relates to our health and well-being. In this article, I will provide an overview, as we proceed with a heightened perspective, zoom out, and look over what’s to come.
The seasons are a perfect reminder of transformation and how connected we truly are to the natural world – a mirror reflection. Here we can learn about the cycles and phases as they relate to the collective and to us as unique individuals, so that we can begin to find our own cadence and rhythm within the ever changing.
The seasons teach us that subtle, gradual change is a constant, natural fluctuations exist, and that each phase of the process is important and connected. Chinese medicine is unique in that it embraces this philosophy and furthermore applies it to deeply understand health, disease, well-being, and the healing process.
In Chinese Medicine, there are five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Each element is connected to different qualities, organ systems, mental-emotional patterns, diet and lifestyle recommendations, and a different season.
Here is a brief overview.
Earth is unique in that it lies in the center of the seasons and within each of the seasonal transitions, asking us to remain centered and grounded within the transformation.
Think roots, fruition, change, clarity, community, transition and support.
The earth element represents the transition between seasons, like stage of the year that we are now in as we transition into fall, which is represented by the metal element. Earth also represents metabolic function and the organs systems (Spleen, Pancreas, Stomach) involved in this process.
It asks us to digest and process through our experiences, transform our thoughts into action, and to find balance within the ever changing.
Metal represents fall. It asks us to begin to go within, cultivate space, breathe deeply and let go of what no longer serves us.
Think pumpkin spice lattes, fresh air, reflection, communication and a good reset.
The metal element represents the lungs and the large intestine organ systems, which have much to do with inhalation, exhalation, and the elimination of old and outdated patterns.
Water represents winter, and it is all about intuition, depth and introspection.
Think relaxation, rest, family, dreams, meditation, will power, and courage.
The water element represents the endocrine system, the kidneys, and the urinary bladder. It asks us to switch into a calm and connected mode, rest and revive the spirit as we move forward into the new year.
Wood represents the spring, and it is all about creation, growth and development.
Think green, blooms, enthusiasm, strength, vision, new beginnings and life.
The wood element represents the liver and gallbladder organ systems.
It asks us to detox, cleanse and focus on growth and vitality.
Fire represents the summer, and it is all about expansion, bright light and vibrant expression.
Think upbeat, radiance, joy, laughter, flirtation, sweat, dancing and sunshine!
The fire element represents the heart, pericardium and the small intestine. It asks us to lighten up, celebrate, appreciate and enjoy life.
Finally, these short and sweet summaries, have to do with concepts, patterns and elements that each of us hold within us at all times of the year.
Certain seasons magnify and reflect a collective energy that we can choose to lean into and optimize, if we so choose. They paint a picture that shows us how we ourselves can continue to transform and embrace the human experience as we incorporate all of the elements throughout the year.
More on this later! For now, I invite you to go with the flow and become the observer as the leaves change colors, snow falls, flowers emerge, and the sun shines bright once again. Transformation.
As always, follow your heart, take what applies and allow your intuition to guide you through each phase as you move forward and make them your own!