Autumn's Melancholy

05 November 2009 0 comments
This morning a patient mentioned that she has been feeling a bit melancholy the past few weeks. I asked her if her depression had returned...and she told me that it was not as serious as all that...but that she had been a bit withdrawn.

I told her that for Autumn, this is totally normal.

Whereas for Spring and for Summer, the energy all around us is that of expansion, growth, excitement (think of plants pushing enthusiastically upward through the darkness of soil, reaching toward the skies, flowers bursting into color) -- in Autumn, we turn inward, we contract and withdraw. When the weather chills, the trees don't die, their sap merely withdraws into the center of the trunk, to conserve energy through the winter, to regenerate in order to be prepared for Spring's enthusiastic rebirth.

Similarly, we withdraw, contract, slow a bit in Autumn. We internalize more, we prepare for winter. We guard our energy (or we should!). We need to rest a bit more, nourish ourselves a bit more.

No matter where we live, we need to wear socks, keep our necks and lower backs warm. (That is why scarves and turtlenecks were invented, people!) We need to eat fewer salads, cold, icy and raw foods and fruits and more longer-cooked stews, cooked fruits (fresh hot applesauce!), cooked vegetables and grains and warm drinks.

If we are a wee bit melancholy (appropriately so), more contracted and withdrawn, we can enjoy a healthy but still Winter (more to come on that!) -- so that we then have the energy for a brighter Spring.

There is a story about when God wanted to create the world, there was a little problem. You see, God filled up all the space in the universe and there was nowhere to put the new world. So...God had to make some room. Thus God contracted a bit, to make space so the world could come to be. There is a word for this is called "tsimtsum".

In our lives, it is okay to withdraw ourselves, to contract a bit in time of transition, not only in Autumn, but make room for the regeneration of Spring, for new creation, for change. To practice tsimtsum.

Not only is it okay, it is essential for our health, our well-being, our bursting, our flowering...

...and our vibrance.



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