This year, many of us have been going through the layers of letting go.
We have learned to readjust our expectations over and over again, to move on from the original plans and hopes for the year, and to make do with simpler lifestyles.
We have canceled holiday and vacation plans, been let down, let go, lost work or cut pay, been stuck at home, cooped up with our partner's, parents or kids, and more than anything, have had to constantly get used to a new kind of normal.
We have, in many ways, had to go through the many layers of grief, that goes with changing expectations and hopes and dreams.
As we have had to redefine ourselves and carve out a new personality, one that is okay with the present moment and not so focused on trivial things, we have also had to let go of the person and self-identity we have had to leave behind.
In traditional Chinese medicine, fall is associated with the organs Lung and Large intestine, both being the representative organs holding grief and sorrow. Symptoms of deficiencies or stagnation in the lungs can be associated with feelings of needing to take a deep breath, a deep cry, or a deep sigh. Sometimes also related to chronic colds and flu's, coughs, and congestion. Symptoms of deficiencies or stagnation in the large intestine is often related to feelings of fullness, bloating, constipation, or heaviness, often seen especially around the traditional over indulging at holiday meals.
If you are ready to detox these stuck emotions of grief and sorrow, and move on to a healthier state of mind this holiday season, here are a few suggestions to help you let go of what is no longer serving you.
1. Reconnect to nature- Especially when I am feeling heavy in the emotional realm, I find some time in nature helps to give me perspective and release stuck emotions. Find some time to sit in the mountains, walk by the ocean, or spend time in your favorite special place in the woods or garden.
2. Detox your diet- This can be either through the preventative method of cleaning up our diets, reducing carbs, sugars, and fried foods, or by clearing the body internally of wastes by drinking a detoxing herbal tea. Check out our detox tea recipe at the bottom of the newsletter.
3. Move your body- Even a small amount of movement (if your used to doing none) can do a whole lot to help you move through constipation of the emotions or bowels. Start with gentle walking (this can be done in nature for some bonus points!) stretching and breathing (yoga, Pilates, tai chi, chi gong, or whatever practice you choose).
4. Clean up your space- Clearing the clutter is a great way to help clear your thoughts and your mind. Especially if you have been feeling stuck this season, its especially important to make a physical change that shows your mind that you are making a decision to face the tough stuff and move through it!
5. Let it all out- When you don’t know how to move past your problems, sometimes journaling it all down or talking to a friend or professional therapist about it can help you get some perspective. We shouldn’t expect that we will know how to handle all situations or emotions that come up in life. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to get your story literally out of your head, either verbally or on paper. Then, your mind has less to roll around in that ole hamster wheel inside. When you are feeling alone or isolated with your emotions, this is especially an important tool to reach out to someone to learn you may not be the only one going through it.
As we approach the coming the winter solstice and the change of the season, I encourage you to be gentle with yourself and let the heavy stuff go as much as you can. Whether that means breathing, moving, crying, or going for a walk. Let yourself be your own caring best friend, and remember, this too shall pass.
If you are looking for help to move through your stuck feelings, start looking towards what lies ahead on your bigger journey. In our Herbal Apprentice Program, we all get to work through the many layers of grief and changing identities as you begin your journey as a healer.
The best healers have often gone through a huge life transition to learn the many lessons that they later pass on to in their practice. Are you ready to start your journey?