The Fall equinox has approached once more, and we come full circle to the start of this blog project. My intention then was to help my patients become more aware with how our physical and emotional well-being are connected to the changing seasons and times. It gave me great pleasure to show so many of you how our moods and thoughts were related to our outside surroundings. With more awareness, many of you have become more in tune with how our mind, body and spirit responds to what is going on around us. I hope you continue to welcome this blog project as a marker of the changes and growth we are all experiencing. Thank you for sharing your journey with me.

And now, onto Fall…

Today, September 22, marks the moment when the temperatures begin to drop (here in the Bay less so than in other parts of the world!). The days get shorter, and the nights get longer. As we witness later dawns and earlier sunsets, our bodies start yearning for more sleep. During the summer months, we may have partied a bit more than is our natural inclination, perhaps going to bed a little later than our routine and waking up a little earlier with the sun. But as the autumn months approach, our bodies will want to sleep in a little more, responding to the sun rising a little later in the day. Unfortunately, many of us cannot sleep in on a work day so try getting to bed a little earlier to give your body the rest it is craving.

Actually, your body is preparing itself for the coming months of slowing down for introspection. During the summer, we tended to move faster – we were more active, we had a lot of fun, we were more social and we engaged with the world a bit more. But the time has come to slow down and to reflect on what came to pass during the summer months. Now, we can think about our successes and failures, making sure to learn from our mistakes rather than beat ourselves for them. We can meditate on our growth, and we can think about the kinds of changes we would like to implement in the following year.

Take time to process the emotions that are coming up during this time of introspection. Do not judge them, but let them pass, whatever they may be. This season is associated emotionally with grief and sadness, so allow these emotions to arise and stay present with them. There’s no “right” time frame so be patient with yourself.

It is also good to come back to the breath. A few minutes of meditation in the morning can help bring our awareness to our bodies, and stretching during the day can help us with the slowing down process of the coming months. Drinking more water will also be good to help flush our systems. Begin transitioning to eating more warm, cooked foods. Go to a farmers market and see what fruits and vegetables are in season, since these crops will be most nourishing to your body at this time. We will need to nourish our bodies and support them through these changes.

An acupuncture treatment may also help the mind, body, and spirit get ready for the changing season. Acupuncture during this season helps to strengthen the Lungs, thus helping prevent colds and flus in the coming winter months. I’m happy to help guide you through these transitions so feel free to come in for a treatment anytime!

Happy Fall,

Vegetable & Barley Soup Recipe

• 1 onion, diced
• 1 shallot, diced
• 2 stalks of celery, diced
• 3 cloves of garlic, diced
• 2 tbsp of olive oil
• 2 carrots, peeled and diced
• 8 mushrooms, cleaned and diced
• 1 parsnip, peeled and diced
• 2 zucchini, diced
• 12 cherry tomatoes, chopped into quarters
• 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves, chopped
• 1 400g tin of diced tomatoes
• 2 cups of barley
• 2 liters of vegetable stock

1. In a large soup pot, over a medium heat, sauté the onion, shallot, celery and garlic in the olive oil until the onion begins to turn translucent.
2. Add the carrot, parsnip, mushrooms and zucchini and cook until they start to soften.
3. Then add the cherry tomatoes and thyme and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the vegetable stock, tinned tomatoes and barley. Cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the barley is tender.