The season of Harvest is upon us. What are you harvesting this year?
For some, this has been a time of blessings, new discoveries, unforeseen opportunities, and a much needed slowing down.
For others, it has been a time of disruption, frustration, grief, and trauma.
For all, this year has been uncharted territory, tremendous loss, and the stress of navigating this new normal has affected nearly every part of our lives.
What then, does this next season have in store?
How can we prepare for the unknowable future?
How can we become more resilient, more vital, and more centered amidst the constant climate of change?
In traditional cultures, and ancient medicine traditions that have weathered millenia of change, we see that in times of uncertainty there is a return to the fundamentals, and ultimately, to the rhythms of nature.
The wisdom of ancient medicine traditions tells us that this season is about turning inward, and as we begin to turn our focus from the outside, others, the external world, we begin our journey back to our center by finding ourselves literally in our own skin.
Look down at your hands. Your arms, legs, feet. Look in the mirror at your face, neck, abdomen.
How do you look? More importantly, how do you FEEL?
Fall is about beginning the journey home to ourselves, and though it may sound superficial, we begin with learning to care for our skin.
The skin is the largest organ of our body, with some 20+ sq feet of area.
The roles of the skin range from protecting us from the outside world, to touch and sensation, regulating temperature, detoxification, and interaction with the elements.
As we begin to focus on the skin we can see that there are a myriad of ways that it communicates, showing us how we are interacting with the outside, and, perhaps more importantly, revealing a glimpse of what is happening on the inside.
Skin conditions often flare up during the fall as the weather dries out, and this vast organ does the work of letting go of the year’s successes and failures: just as the trees shed their leaves we literally and metaphorically shed our skin.
When a doctor of functional medicine or eastern medicine sees a skin symptom, the first question might be, how is your digestion?
A dermatologist will likely tell you that your gut health has nothing to do with your skin condition, but the wisdom of thousands of years tells us otherwise.
So, ironically, our focus on beauty brings us to a focus on our inner environment. What is happening in the gut?
Eastern and functional medicine agree that lasting health begins in the gut. AND, if we are not taking care of our insides, all disease potentially begins in the gut.
As we move our focus inward, Fall asks us to optimize our digestive process. It is crucial that we make the most of what we eat, absorb nutrients, and eliminate efficiently.
If we have poor digestion, our body becomes malnourished and toxic, and our immune system becomes overloaded with the cleanup.
In the same way, we have to digest our emotions. We have to cleanse and let go of what we have been holding, to grieve and release what we have lost, and to surrender our unfinished plans back to the earth so that the cycle can begin anew.
The fruit of our efforts in tending to our skin, healing our gut, and letting go of our accumulated emotions is that our immune system becomes free to do the job it is meant to do, making us stronger, more resilient, and more adaptable.
Now more than ever we need all of our immune resources on deck for the task of protecting and keeping us safe, and for helping us meet the unforeseen challenges that will inevitably arise in our rapidly changing world.
So the work of Fall begins on the surface, but culminates in upgrading the core systems that are responsible for our immediate and lasting wellbeing.
There is no shortcut to health.
But, there is a simple path that we can all walk.
And it begins by taking an honest and compassionate look in the mirror.
We all want to feel beautiful, to feel embodied, to feel confident and at home in our skin.
Feeling beautiful translates into feeling successful, into feeling loved, capable and empowered.
The beauty we seek is more than skin deep. Because we also know the experience of hiding behind a beautiful mask.
True beauty radiates from a deep place of peace and balance within our center.
True beauty is the reflection of a harmonious inner environment.
When we tend to our inner environment, we are able to relax and feel at home in the body, which brings us into balance with our natural rhythms and the turning of the seasons.
We free ourselves to change, grow, renew, and reset just as nature does, time and time again.
In short, we Fall into ourselves in the best way possible.