The Courage To Let Go

It is autumn, the season of surrender, transitioning, shedding. Nature is poised for letting go. . . It is time to prepare for rest.

Pause in your life and reflect on this season of transition. Honor how it affects you, your balance, and your well-being. The Yang energy of summer is shifting into the Yin of winter. While summer is associated with the emotion of joy, autumn is associated with both courage and sadness.

The plants and trees are winding down from their cycle of growth. They have reached their peak and are now going deeply inward. The light is dying. The days are getting shorter. Sadness and courage are natural emotions as these changes are taking place. It is a natural process.

Now is the time to slow down—to reflect upon and contain our spirit and energy, and to have the courage to let go of what we no longer need. It is the season to be grateful for the abundance the year has provided and to release disappointments. This letting go is necessary before we are able to take in the deep 'rest' of winter.

In Western culture we don't always honor this process. We have a tendency to 'push away' sadness or grief. In Chinese culture each season has a particular quality and is part of a whole. These cycles and circles are important; they identify both change and regularity as constant features of life.

The metal element corresponds to autumn. We are refining and retaining the gold we have accumulated, while releasing that which we no longer need. Harvesting and storing the bounty of summer is another way of retaining ‘essence’ while discarding the husks and stalks that are no longer necessary.

Nature is a beautiful mirror (metal element). When we acknowledge our oneness with all that is, we are able to receive nature’s exquisite guidance. In autumn, as the leaves fall, the sap—that is the life-force of every plant— withdraws from these leaves and branches and collects in the roots.

I invite you to welcome loss and letting go to your table. Grief has its place like all emotions. It must be honored if we are to remain connected to ourselves. In all its enormity, grief reminds us of how much love we can feel, and there is no greater strength than this deeply humanizing experience. All grief, whether large or small, deserves our attention. Grief is not about regret. It is about release.

Resolve is the gift that follows grief. It is the distilled essence of what we had, and becomes a part of us that we can never lose. This is the story of your gold being refined and retained, just like the sap stored in the roots of the tree—waiting and resting—before the new growth of spring.