Each season of the year has a corresponding Element in Traditional Chinese Medicine. As we now enter Fall, the Element associated is Metal. The strength of the Metal Element and how it shows up in each of us personally is strength—fortitude, often in both physical and intellectual characteristics. As we know, every strength has its opposite, or as my favorite quote states it: “Our weaknesses are our strengths overdone” (Unknown Author). When we experience the Metal Element on overdrive, which is especially common for us societally during the Fall season, we may find ourselves more susceptible to grief or “dogmatically positioned” feelings. This “dogmatically positioned” experience is where we feel something must go a certain way, and if it doesn’t, then everything has gone wrong.
When grief or “dogmatically positioned” emotions grip us to the point that we feel stuck or chained, this is when Metal has gone overboard and we feel rigid, frigid, and unbending. Our hope is to equip you for this Fall season by suggesting a more breathable and pliable framework. Think of shock-absorbing springs or earthquake tolerable building equipment which fortifies the strength of Metal framework with flexibility. Let’s apply such shock-absorbing structure to ourselves personally.
Rather than feeling like we have to muscle through our challenges, muster all our mental grit, and charge forward, we can yield to the option of sometimes meeting a challenge with a slide back. A bounce back. Even possibly a fall. That when a loved one has misunderstood us to the point of deeply offending us, a political environment pains us, or a physical symptom overwhelms us, we can give ourselves permission to fall with the blow. Rather than meet challenge with sheer resistance, which could eventually make us fall from the blow and feel shattered, we can choose to tumble back. This means we may end up a few paces backward on our path than we hoped to be. Console the grief this fall may bring and the dogmatic voices that may cry out, “You’re supposed to be stronger than this! How could you let us be pushed back like this?” Hold this voice tenderly like a child who has been hurt hopes for refuge and relief.
Then gently explain to her, to your dogma, “It’s ok. We’re ok here, even a few paces back. I’m learning to be pliable and shock absorb, to roll with the drama of loved ones and political issues, the trauma of illness and injury. My structure and frame that brings order, peace of mind, and safety are still intact, and are now better supported because I’m choosing to be breathable rather than strictly solid steel. I will now be better equipped to know how to move forward because I have chosen to fall back with this blow.” Regroup here with a few breath cycles, allowing acceptance for how you feel and room for your shift. Take a moment now to consider what are some of your beliefs that create your structure which truly strengthen you. Keep these. Then delve into what dogmas are making your structure overly rigid and unable to absorb shock. Where can you find breathability if the candidate you voted for lost, if your kid has a meltdown at the most inopportune time, if illness makes a mark in your home, or if you said something in a way you wish you could take back?