Snatching up valuables as you eliminate waste.
I recently started watching the three-part Bill Gates documentary series (“Inside Bill’s Brain”) on Netflix. The first episode is all about sanitation. I was shocked to learn that 4 billion people (more than 50% of this planet’s population!!!!!) do not have access to good sanitation (or to sanitation at all really).
I guess that I knew that on some level but seeing the images of overflowing pit latrines and raw sewage being scooped up and dumped out into gorgeous rivers (and then reflecting on 4 billion humans living that way) reminded me of how staggering the imbalances are amongst the world’s population. Only 300 million people live here in the US and though inequality reigns supreme in this country too, pretty much all of us are way more fortunate in terms of disease management and access to resources than most people in the rest of the world.
Autumn is the season associated with the Lung (which I will focus on in the next newsletter) and the Colon. Though every organ has its own set of virtues, the Colon is one of my favorite organs. It eliminates waste (in both Western and Chinese Medicine) and in Chinese Medicine texts it’s sometimes known as “the jewel thief.” One of the Colon’s jobs is to snatch up any nutrients that the Small Intestine may have missed. It’s sort of a last-call for collecting valuable resources before the refuse leaves our bodies permanently.
As the Colon eliminates what we no longer need, it keeps an eye out for any treasures that we may have missed. In this way, it’s a sort of silver-lining kind of organ. As it filters through what we discard, it still manages to keep its eyes peeled for valuables.
Because it’s primary job is waste management, the Colon is all about discernment. Before you can take out the trash, you have to know what to discard and what to keep.
The only way to know what’s waste and what’s a treasure is to know what your personal values are.
In West Philly, I often find clothing, food, furniture, etc. left out on the side of the road in a box marked “free.” By putting these items out rather than just throwing them away, the person letting these items go knows that they have some value, but these objects simply aren’t valuable to them anymore.
My favorite stuffed animal (pictured above) was a side-of-the-road find which I now refer to as my “rescue dog.” (Yes I washed him multiple times on high heat before bringing him in.)
If you’re having trouble discerning what to keep and what to let go of, that may be a sign that your Colon isn’t quite at it’s best. When we start to feel too much negativity, or when we hold on to too much too tight, our Colon’s functions can get bogged down. At that point, we can let go too much (which can manifest as diarrhea or even as outbursts of anger) or we can hold on so much that we end up constipated and cluttered, feeling suffocated or bogged down.
If you’re having trouble with discerning what’s precious to you, or with letting go in general, consider scheduling an acupuncture appointment. Acupuncture can help you lighten the load and feel more free in your body and your life. Reach out to me for more details.
May you feel happy and free this fall.