Living the Elements: Metal
Could we take a moment to remember that autumn is not just about grief and loss? Yes, it’s about that too—but it’s also about the beauty, and about what is essential, and what lasts forever inside of us. It’s about what we treasure, and how we keep our treasure clean and polished inside of us. What do you love, what do you value—not just on good days, but when it’s all really hitting the fan? What reminds you of your values, and brings you back into alignment?
That’s what autumn is about—not just grief!
Of course, grief can be a doorway into beauty and transcendent value. But let’s not forget that it is a doorway so that we move forward and do not get stuck halfway through!
Here are some of my favorite reminders of the many flavors of Metal in autumn:
Song: October Project – Return to Me
Lung pathologies are so beautiful that it’s hard to be motivated to heal them—why not just languish forever after the elusive essence of a perfection that is always just out of reach? If, as you listen to this song, you can feel Lung 1 and Lung 2 aching, consider a Lung yin tonic this autumn—and definitely get a humidifier for the winter.
(For more about Lung yin tonics, see our Mai Men Dong Tang video CEU.)
Song: Maura O’Connell – If I Fell (Beatles cover)
Here is another beautiful Lung pathology, but this one is an overcast sky, full of mist and rain. Isn’t it astounding how an upbeat Beatles song can become as thick and heavy as damp phlegm asthma when sung by an Irish woman who comes from a place where it is pretty much always raining? The swirling mist unifies the mood of both the inner and outer sky.
(For more about the shifting boundaries of our inner and outer worlds, see our Lung 6: Regulating Interior and Exterior CEU.)
Song: Francis Cabrel – Octobre
You don’t have to know French in order to enjoy having your Lung qi poignantly wasted by this song. Watch the falling leaves, the delicate sensation of loss as each moment passes, the elegance of appreciation mixed with regret…
(For a comprehensive look at all the ways that the pathologies of our Metal Element can be transformed into virtue, see our Spirit of the Herbs: Metal audio CEU.)
Art: Rogan Brown
(For more about the perils and virtues of a keen appreciation of detail, see our article Zhe Bei Mu and the Lung: Heaven Entering a Small Personal Space from the Five Element Archive Metal book.)
Poem: Galway Kinnell – Saint Francis and the Sow
For many years I had this poem (below) on the wall in my treatment room because on days when I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, I would read this poem and think, “Yes, at least I can do this.” It reminds me of something that my Sufi teacher Nura Laird would ask us about how we were together in community. She would ask, “Are you reminding each other to unveil?” Meaning, was our presence a reminder to each other to let the beauty of our essence be seen? The re-teaching of loveliness is a holy art.
Saint Francis and the Sow
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.
Galway Kinnell, “Saint Francis and the Sow” from Three Books. Copyright © 2002 by Galway Kinnell. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved, www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com.
Source: Three Books (2002)
(For more about Beauty as consummation of the marriage between the spirit and the flesh, see our Lung 10 in the Context of Lung 11 and Colon 1: Truth and Beauty CEU.)
Do you have songs, poems, or images that really exemplify autumn or the Metal Element for you? Let us know in the comments!
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