Composting: Tips from your Acupuncturist to Stay Healthy in Autumn
Are you feeling the shift in the air? Here in Vancouver, we had a beautiful hot flash of summer and we are now sinking into the cooler temperatures that come with the autumn season. This morning, I woke up to a beautiful autumn equinox. Leaves are falling to the earth to be broken down into rich humus. In the garden, we have been busily tending to our compost pile. As the crops are finishing their final show, gifting us with their last fruits of the Late Summer, we are carting the old beanstalks, tomato greens and chicken manure to the compost bins. There, the microbes and worms will do their work to break down the discards from this year’s crop down to its essences and into usable nutrition for next year’s soil. This is the season of sorting because we think about what we need to retain from the dwindling harvest and what needs to be recycled into the earth to fertilize next year’s garden. The energy of Autumn is all about letting go in order to create fertile ground for the new.
The heat and motivating yang energy of Summer is pivoting in this season as the world slows down to prepare for the cozy cultivating yin energy of Winter. As the garden’s production is starting to slow down, it gives us the time and space to reflect. This is why it is so easy to access gratitude during this time of year. This reflection can often feel bittersweet as we grieve the last warm days of Summer.
Autumn is a time of transition. It is the juiciest season for self-examination for many because it is the time when everything is laid bare. We cannot hide behind the bright foliage of Springtime, the busyness of Summer or the blanket of snow in Winter. Because the outward expansive energy of Spring and Summer is pivoting to turning inward as the Earth readies itself for Winter, it is hard to avoid the introspective energy of this Season.
EMOTION OF AUTUMN: GRIEF
The emotion that tends to be most present in Autumn is grief. During any major transition, there is a healthy expression of grief. As I see in my own garden today, the plants are now done with their productive output and are now going to seed in order to birth the next generation of crops. My beautiful, abundantly verdant garden has taken on the new cloak of browns and ambers of autumn. The chicken farmer next door is busily harvesting her flocks before the Winter rains settle in. Grief has a natural cleansing effect because it allows us to examine what is no longer present in our lives.
Grief shows up in the human spirit as we move through life’s transitions. This can show up in moments that are heavy like the death of a loved one or a miscarriage. But it can also be present in happy transitions like a welcome move, career transition or the birth of a child as well. In healthy expressions of grief, there is an acknowledgement and honoring of the passing of what has been. Grief craves ritual which is why it feels so cathartic for many to attend a memorial when a loved one passes.
Someone who has difficulty acknowledging and honouring the grief in their life may feel themselves rusted in grief and unable to compost it into personal growth. This can manifest as dwelling on past experiences, being unable to let go in order to allow the fresh and new energy in. In my practice, I work with many mothers who are thrilled to
STAY BALANCED IN AUTUMN
Practice Boundaries: As we start our foray into the holiday season, we must stay mindful of the obligations that we have to our traditions and families, but also to the obligations that we have to ourselves to keep us healthy. To avoid draining your energy, practice mindful boundaries that demonstrate compassion to yourself so you may show up to holiday celebrations fully present.
Reflect on Gratitude: Practicing gratitude is simply acknowledging what is pure and true in your life. My incredibly simplistic meditation practice is to take moments in my busy day to sit with my breath. Even if all I can afford is 3 minutes at a time. This is the gift of the Lungs. They give you the ability to take in the pure and acknowledgement of purity is where gratitude is borne.
Let Go of the Old, to Allow for the Cycle of Rebirth: Use Nature as a mentor. The trees do not stubbornly hang onto their leaves because they might potentially need them to photosynthesize next year. But in our our own lives, how often do we hold onto old “stuff” whether it be storylines, material goods, relationships or excuses? If the “stuff” no longer serves you any longer, it is time to let it go so that you can have the space for renewal.
EAT FOR AUTUMN
Check out the recipes section of the Acubalance website for ideas on fun meals to cook at home. During the Autumn months, it is best to stick to a diet that emphasizes these key points:
Eat Spicy and Aromatic Foods
Are you ready for cold and flu season? Since our Lungs are most vulnerable this time of year, it is important to eat foods to help protect them. The spicy flavor is particularly helpful in helping ward off the dreaded sniffles. Drink ginger and turmeric tea. Incorporate some cardamom and cloves into your stews. At the very first onset of symptoms of feeling sick, chew down a clove of raw garlic. Splurge with a Chai tea latte.
Low and Slow Cooking
During the cooler months of Autumn and Winter, I recommend foods that are cooked on low heat for a long time like braised meats, soups and stews. I can’t think of a cozier way to spend the day than with a pot of delicious stewed meat on the stovetop. If you’re going for a soup or a stew, a great base to start with is my bone broth recipe.
Eat Your Minerals
Cultivate the healthy minerals in your body through food. We all need balanced levels of trace minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc and potassium. Here is a list of my top favorite ways to get these essential blocks of our nutrition: beans, lentils, dark leafy greens, fish and seeds.
LET’S CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION
To book a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation with me, just give Acubalance Wellness Centre a call at (604) 678-8600.