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  • Shelby O'Hagan

Journal Prompts for Fall ~the Metal Element~

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

The fall equinox is in a couple days, and after a bustling summer of lake days and sunshine, Fall is certainly starting to make its arrival.


A sunflower
A sunflower from my morning walk

Mornings are suddenly chilly. Kids are back in school. And there's a different hue to the sunlight. The leaves at the very tops of trees are starting to change color - swaths of red and green brushing the bright blue sky. A few days ago I really noticed the morning cold and actually pulled out some gloves and a scarf for my bike ride to work. Yikes!

Previously this time of year came with some trepidation for me... I'd feel a pang of sadness and grief when I noticed the corn stalks getting tall in county fields. I hated the thought of summer ending and the upcoming many months of grey skies and rain. It was always so depressing! And the obsession with pumpkin spice... ughh it just drove me nuts. Fortunately these days, I feel excited by the crisp mornings and crunchy leaves. And I'll even admit that I'm on a bona fide pumpkin spice kick... omg it is so delicious 😂


What about you? Are you Team Summer or Team Fall?

What do you feel as the seasons begin to change?


Something fascinating about Chinese medicine that I didn't realize before entering school is that there are many many different perspectives. Here I thought Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was it; however, there are several different schools of thought.

A visual depiction of the interactions between the five elements in Chinese Medicine.
The Five Elements in Chinese Medicine

Five Elements is one of these schools, and it focuses on the ways the seasons and our environments affect us and our lives throughout the years. We can all relate to the bursting energy of Spring as we shake the stillness of Winter off and of course the sense of turning within as Summer turns to Late Summer and then to Fall. Each season is associated with an element, and each of these elements interacts with the others according to two separate cycles.


In Chinese medicine, Fall is the season of the Metal element. It is the season of turning within, discovering what matters, and letting go of everything else. It's a season of change and of awe as we witness those changes. Simply look outside at the trees, and you'll understand. The vivid shades of red, orange, and yellow amongst what remains of green is truly awe-inspiring. As the leaves begin to fall, we're beckoned to ask ourselves what we're holding onto that is ready to be released. Eventually we're left with the truth of each tree and plant, their shapes on display without anything to hide. The leaves, seeds, and everything else fall to the ground to decompose - nourishing the soil for later growth.


Historically, metals have always been valuable, but they take some work to uncover. And this rings true for people as well. Each of us has so much beauty and value to share with the world, but we have a tendency to lose track of that along the way. Interestingly, although not surprisingly, the emotion of the Metal element is grief. Letting go is hard. We hold onto all kind of things/feelings/beliefs/relationships/(fill in the blank) because they make us feel safe. The question to ask ourselves is whether these security blankets are contributing to our growth or holding us back.

Image of character Skeletor from HeMan with inspirational quote across top: I await with wonder today's unexpected moments."
Wisdom from Skeletor

There is magic in this season! The return to dark, quiet, sultry Yin (I explain a little about Yin and Yang HERE) is a beautiful thing. The opportunity to let go is always there, but there's something powerful about aligning and living seasonally.


Some journal prompts to consider as we transition into Fall and the Metal element:

  • What gives your life meaning?

  • What makes your feel inspired?

  • What do you love about yourself? What nuggets of gold are there within you?

  • Is there anything detracting from your sense of self-worth?

  • What are your security blankets?

  • What can you let go of so you can more truly be yourself?


With love,

Shelby



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