Fall light is entirely compelling to me. In the gold sunlight that late afternoon offers these days, everything looks rich, soft and inviting. Even the shadowy areas beneath the trees look friendly, gentle. The darkness is growing, but somehow the days of almost equal amounts of dark and light bring an energy for looking and evalution, a weighing-in with ourselves that is rarely available other times of year. I lie on the ground feeling my heart beat and my nervous system slowly discharge the excess from my day. The earth, it seems, can take it. More than take it, the earth seems to grow only more strong, more verdant with the energy she absorbs. She absorbs sunlight. She absorbs water. And she absorbs the energy we humans are continually radiating no matter what kind of energy it is.
In Chinese medicine the earth is described as the source of our Yang energy. Even though the sun radiates light and heat from it’s home in the sky, we can’t directly use it. Instead, we convert the sunlight that we absorb through our skin into Vitamin D, which powers our hormones, our endocrine system, part of what we might call the Yin or the fluid of our bodies. But the Yang energy, the part of our energy that propels us into action, that lights us up you could say, comes from the earth we walk on right through the soles of our feet.
The balance of these two ways we use sunlight is a perfect match for nourishing both the inside and outside of our bodies. And in a perfect balance of exchange, the light we absorb through the surface goes to serve the innermost aspect, what I like to call the essence, while the light we absorb via the earth, a light that has undergone empowerment through interaction with the soil, goes to serve our ability to take action in the world.
To take advantage of this earth energy, you could take off your shoes and socks and get your bare feet on the ground. Most of the time, our feet, our connection to the earth, are barricaded from the precious Yang energy that the earth radiates, by the soles of our shoes. Some materials will conduct the earth energy like leather and cotton, but most man-made materials won’t. Until you get some skin contact with the earth, the nourishing energy can’t flow in. Something really different happens when even for just a moment you let the earth energy flow into your body. Such a moment can power the whole day.
In the spirit of this seasonal dance, you could use the balance of light and energy at this time of year to equalize, to take a kind of objective and steady look into your life, bringing balance to what you might absorb and what you might let go. You could look at what is nourishing for you and what is costing you more than you might wish or even draining you. You could prepare for the cold and the dark, by choosing carefully the things you want to see around your home, knowing you’ll likely be spending more time indoors. In this balancing act, some things will go to the light, transformed by absorbing heat and light. Some things will go to the dark, to the earth to be dissolved, disseminated, recycled. Either way they will go on to power you and the earth, returning to sunlight, to mineral, to soil and recharging all that lives. A beautiful balance.