Time to Slow Down and Reflect
Did you know that your lungs are associated with sadness and grief? According to Chinese Medicine, each of your organs is connected to an emotion. Although sorrow comes in many forms, all sadness and grief can be associated with change.
When you are grieving or sad these emotions are held in your lungs, making them weak. In steps the large intestine, associated with letting go. Together these two organs can help you process hard emotions and breathe through the process of letting them go.
Fall seems the appropriate time for this internal reflection. We see the rich beauty of nature showcasing how lovely the process can be. Trees spend their summer pushing nutrients out to their leaves and producing fruit. As the season turns to Fall the trees begin to slow their output of nutrients to the leaves, focusing more on what’s happening internally, their leaves turn and eventually fall.
So too must we do this internal reflection: Using nature as our reminder of how nice it is to let go. Knowing that the fall of this year’s leaves is not the end of the tree, but rather just part of the process of growth and renewal.
You can support your lungs and large intestines by slowing down. Allowing yourself to feel the deep, hard emotions with the knowledge that it is completely normal. Understanding that these emotions are not who you are and don’t need to control your life. These emotions are a gift that holds a candle to where we need to reflect and let go.
Whether your grief or sadness is small or big it’s important to give yourself space to allow and reflect. Processing these emotions is a way to help you let go of them.
Start externally. Take time to de-clutter your home or workspace. Get rid of those old clothes that don’t fit. Create space for the new and unexpected to grow.
When you are feeling any kind of sorrow your breath naturally becomes more shallow. You begin to take quick short breaths high into your ribcage. Just think of the last time you cried. You can almost feel yourself breathing in this manner. Not good.
It’s natural for our bodies to do this, but unnatural for us to stay in this panicked and high-intensity breath pattern. When you are working through hard emotions and letting go, this is bound to be the case.
A great way to slow the breath is by following your breath in for 4 counts and out for 8. Or whatever number works for you. The point is to breathe out longer than you are breathing in.
Letting go is how you heal. Use your lungs as the medicine to heal your sorrow.
Healing allows you to let go of the dismissive. Taking the time to look inside takes self-compassion. How often have we been told that we must serve others? That the needs of everyone else should come before our own healing? This leads to more sadness, grief, and overwhelm.
Fall is an opportunity to go deep within and find acceptance of yourself. Advocating for your needs, and holding to your boundaries.
Deep healing is about embracing your own sensitivity. Letting go is about letting other people’s energy and emotions be just that. You are not in charge of how anyone else feels, you are only responsible for your own feelings. And you cannot give out if you yourself are not full. Over-giving without analyzing and reflecting on what you need to let go of leads to mental illness and leaves you feeling sick and powerless.
Fall is a reminder that you are not broken when all your leaves begin to fall. Emotions are yours for a reason. They are meant to guide you and remind you that you are in fact still human. Emotions are what they are.
- You’re the one who assigns meaning to them.
- You’re the one giving them power.
- You’re the one that builds a story of who you are or are not around them.
- You’re the one who associates them to a person or trait.
- You’re the one that determines how they affect your life.
Emotions are a gift. They help you understand and hear signals from your body. They are here to give you depth and connect you to your body and experiences.
Fall teaches us to find balance within. Your nervous system is constantly seeking balance and your lungs are the highway to that balance.
We have fallen out of balance because so many of us are afraid to connect to our emotional bodies. We have become accustomed to feeling out of balance thinking it’s an easier road than looking at hard felt emotions. Emotions that lay dormant in our lungs.
When you decide to consciously breathe deeply into your body, you start a conversation back to self. Breathing deep into your lungs unclogs passageways that have been burdened with grief and begins to shake them loose. Allowing you the insight to start to redirect the energy in a more mindful way. Breathing through the mud can be scary and revealing, but isn’t that also a part of fall? It isn’t until the tree lets go and sits barren through the winter that we can see the life of spring appear on its branches.
4×8 Breathing Practice
- Find a comfortable seat or feel free to do it while lying in bed. If you are in a chair be sure your back is free from any support and your feet are firmly planted on the ground.
- Let your spine be long but not rigid.
- Soften your gaze and bring your focus to your breath.
- Taking a moment to settle in by focusing on your natural inhales and exhales.
- After a couple rounds begin to control the flow by inhaling to the count of 4.
- Slowly exhale through a controlled count of 8. The goal is to be empty as you hit 8 and not before. Completely clearing out old stagnant air from your lungs.
- Repeat breathing in for 4 and out for 8 for 10 rounds.
- Noticing your mind slow as your thoughts stay centered around the steady slow flow of air moving in and out.