Metal Element - Lung (TCM)
You are a person of great integrity. You remain aloof in relationships, but everyone knows where they stand with you. You are correct and fair with everyone. You have no place for disorder and conflict in your life; you prefer structure and control. You are typically an expert in your field and seek perfection. You are able to think logically and act with methodical efficiency.
Metal Element is all about refinement and self-esteem
Metal is of late autumn, when leaves fall to the earth to be recycled into rich humus. In your life, the power of the Metal Element allows you to efficiently let go of what is not necessary, and store only what is needed for winter. Autumn is also a time of reflection on the progress made through the seasons, and a time to be thankful for an abundant harvest. It is also a time to decide what is needed to be stored for the oncoming winter, and what should be discarded.
Out of Balance:
If the Metal Element is out of balance, or is blocked from fully expressing itself, you may lack the qualities above, or have lost them over time as the imbalance has grown more severe. Integrity turns to hypocrisy; fair relationships bend to authoritative punishments; structure turns to rigidity; perfection seeking leads to disappointment; logic turns to self-doubt. One who is passing through middle age in to their elder years may have issues with letting go of past life disappointments or losses leading to grief. Aging also requires the ability to accept change and release obsolete expectations and motivations.
In Chinese medicine, as in reality, there is no way to separate the mind and the body; by treating the Lungs, according to TCM, you correct emotional imbalances associated with Metal Element; likewise, by addressing emotional issues associated with Metal Element, you treat the Lung energetic organ system according to Chinese medicine.
The Yang organ associated with the Metal Element is the Large Intestine and correlations of the inability to 'let go' are quite apparent. Additionally, the skin is correlated with the Lung energetic system in Chinese medicine. Many of the symptoms listed below will often worsen in the late fall including breathing difficulties, skin eruptions, and digestive disorders.
Physical symptoms that occur with a Metal Element imbalance include:
- Asthma, COPD
- Chronic bronchitis
- Constipation, IBS
- Colitis, diverticulitis
- Lung disorders
- Sinus problems
- Skin disorders
- Large intestine disorders
- Lowered immune functions
- Emotional Symptoms:
- Unresolved loss
- Low self esteem
- Loss of personal boundaries
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Issues with letting go
- Dogmatic religious beliefs
- Problems with authority
- Problems with intimacy
- Lack of spiritual belief
Grief is a normal response to loss. It can be the loss of a home, family pet, job, business, relationship, marriage or a love one. Grief typically follows a process of healing that can be somewhat predictable. In Chinese medicine, it is only when one is unable to move all the way through the grieving process that grief becomes abnormal. Chinese herbs, acupuncture, meditation, flower essences, aromatherapy, and affirmations are all natural ways to free any blocks involved with grieving. These remedies will not mask the emotions of grieving, but aid in the natural process of grieving.
The Grieving Process
Grief is painful, and can be combined with many other emotions that may seem erratic. The length of time one grieves depends on the manner factors and can be weeks, months, and even years. If the pain associated with grief does not begin to ease in a matter of months, than the person who is grieving is likely stuck in one or more of these stages of grief:
Shock and Grief
This is a period just after a loss fraught with confusion. Loss of appetite is common during this stage. Flower essences can lessen the damage to the central nervous system due to shock, and help the progress through this stage of grief.
Denial and Grief
Denial can come soon after the initial shock and eases the transition. This is the first level at which people become stuck in the emotions of grief; often people who have lost a loved one will hold on to their belonging for years, somewhere in the back of the mind thinking they will return one day. Flower essences can break the grip of this possibly destructive cycle of denial so that we can move on to a product life after suffering from loss.
Anger and Grief
Anger is normal and may be directed at oneself, another, God, or just life in general. This will be a tumultuous period of outbursts that should be experienced in a safe and private setting. Flower essences, meditations, affirmations, essential oils and herbs can all have a healing influence on anger due to loss. In Chinese medicine, prolonged anger is especially destructive causing Liver Qi Stagnation that contributes to many physical illnesses.
Guilt and Grief
Questions of how you could have changed or prevented events that have led up to the grieving process are common. Was it my fault? Could I have done something different? Why didn't I see the signs? While guilt is normal during grieving, guilt is not a productive emotion to have to live with and can block the progress to personal growth. Meditations and affirmations for grief are especially helpful in dealing with guilt associated with grief.
Sadness and Grief
After passing through shock and denial, and as the anger is exhausted, sadness and even hopelessness may set in. This stage is typically when a person stays inactive and cries for long periods. Unfortunately, this is also where people seek anti-depressants. Utilizing a pharmaceutical anti-depressant is called for when depression leads to thoughts of depression or destructive behavior. However, utilizing anti-depressant medication for sadness due to grief can be counterproductive because it does mask the emotions rather than productively work through them. Flower essence, acupressure, and herbal therapies are safe alternatives.
Acceptance and Grief
One must acknowledge the loss, and accept life with a new set of circumstances. This is the time when efforts must be made to find new activities, new friends, and new outlets for a new life.
Loss is a normal part of living and all of us experience different types of loss throughout our lives. Learning from the past can help us grow emotionally and spiritually. While loss can be painful, it can also provide us with a life experience that allows for compassion and understanding of other people's plights.
The Experience of Grief
One must actually experience each stage of grief in order to move on with a healthy and happy life. Simply avoiding the process will in effect lengthen the amount of time that is necessary to grieve.
Experience the Pain
Chinese medicine holds that pain of grief must be felt and processed, or it will manifest in to physical diseases and disorders. Grief is part of the Metal element, so many of these symptoms will occur in the organs associated with the Metal Element including the Lungs, sinuses, skin, and Large Intestine.
Forgive Yourself and Others
Forgiveness is a powerful tool of growth. Forgive yourself and others for all the things you think you should have said or done. Even forgive yourself for the anger and guilt you experienced while grieving.
Take Care of Yourself
It is easy to neglect yourself while grieving. Eating a balanced diet and exercise will help you work through the pain of grief more quickly. Take naps, listen to upbeat music, watch a movie, and indulge yourself in pleasant activities.
Take Active Steps to Create a New Life for Yourself
Give yourself time to grieve, and then look for new life patterns and new things to do. Volunteer, join social groups, join a recreational sports team, learn to paint, or start looking for a new job.