If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know I’m a massive fan of seasonal wellness patterns. Come in to the clinic for a session any time of year and I’m going to treat your constitution based on how it is responding to the season we’re in and what it is doing to prepare you for the season to come. That’s just how I roll! 🙂
Autumn is one of those seasons that has two phases, in Traditional Chinese Medicine it is divided into Late Summer and Fall/Autumn. Here in Central Texas Late Summer goes on for a LONG time – in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere we see Late Summer start in August and go to the Equinox in mid-September. Here in Texas we like to do things a bit differently and Late Summer is really just ramping up by mid-September and moves into October. We really don’t get falling leaves and cool nights until well into October and sometimes not until November.
The significance of these two seasons is that Late Summer is the gathering phase and Fall is the sorting/prestorage phase. During the gathering phase we’re a bit like the busy squirrels and birds before the first frost: scurrying about with an excess of energy to fit one last vacation in, or sign up for community classes at the local college to try our hands at a new craft. We want to gather as many precious memories and talents to nourish our spirit during the shorter days of late fall and winter when we will extend roots deep into the ground and do some serious introspection and hibernation.
In classic Vata-mode I move into Autumn with my feet firmly dug into the ground, bemoaning the loss of 90+ degree days. Eventually the cooler weather grows on me and I go through a 10 day Pumpkin-in-all-the-things phase before mellowing out and blending up combinations of kukicha, burdock, and dandelion root teas. This year, in some kind of record, I’ve managed to experience autumn in four cities: Denver, Atlanta, Seattle, and Austin. Whew!
Around this time last year a few of my dear colleagues encouraged me to respond to the Alliance of International Aromatherapists’ call for speakers for the September 2015 conference in Denver. I’m so glad I let my this band of cheerleaders nudge me into action and was quite over the moon when I was asked to give my talk, “Holistic Support for Mental Wellness: Practical Tips for Aromatherapists.” It took hours of prep, three laptops, and a mile of nerves to get to the podium, but looking out on all of those faces of aromatherapists making differences in their communities was the best feeling in the world. How appropriate that it was all happening a mile above sea level!
Memories I’m cherishing from the conference include the casual hangouts with some of my favorite people in the aromatherapy field. Discussing hydrosol testing with Ann Harman; photo-ops turning into pure silliness like this photo I LOVE of Leslie Moldenauer, Robert Tisserand and myself attempting line dancing of some fashion. And the inner geek in me gobbled up our ‘Chemistry Happy Hours’ in the hotel lounge breaking down functional groups and weighing the clinical implications of oxides in pediatric populations. All in all I’m still talking about this event and gathered memories I’ll be hanging on to for years to come.
Apparently four days of Aromatic Medicine was just what I needed! There were a couple moments where I couldn’t call up my own name, and I forgot our hotel room number several times, but what’s a total mental overload between colleagues-who-are-also-friends?!
By day we immersed our minds in aromatic pharmacopoeia and by night we talked, sang, and giggled until we couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore. In short, it was perfect!
You’d have thought I was some kind of pioneering botanist the way I took in the beauty of these Northwestern plants. Good thing I can’t draw much beyond stick peoples or the fine folks of Washington might have caught me prowling neighborhoods with a sketch pad and charcoal pencils! I can definitely see why some of colleagues in botanically-centric fields choose this part of the country to live in to practice herbology, hydrosol distillation, holistic perfumery, and aromatherapy.
My Vata self was least fond of the damp and cold though so while I was terribly enamored with this beautiful city I was especially delighted to return to dry, warm…
So now that I’ve got quite the store of information and memories to coast into this second phase of Autumn I’m treasuring time spent working on lesson plans for the Reflexology and Aromatherapy courses at ACC. I’ve redesigned the treatment room at the clinic so I can do formulations in-house. And I’m designing treatment plans for clients to support them through this season, with an emphasis on staying in the present and taking life one minute, one hour, one day at a time.
Tell me friends, how are you moving into this season? Do you have a favorite memory to share of an afternoon through Hill Country tasting the bounty of local wines and olives? One last run to Galveston or Port Aransas to dip your toes in the Gulf of Mexico? A visit to the woods to marvel at the quilted rainbow of oranges, reds, and yellows?