Navigating the energy of the Metal Element

The veil between the seen and unseen starts to thin as autumn, the energy of metal, envelopes us.  Metal is the final phase of the energetic cycle, completing the process of growth with natural release and absorption.  The Chinese character for autumn, Qui, is drawn as grains ripening under the fierce heat of the sun, representing the final leaves falling to the earth.  It is the character representing the completion of flourishing, and the decay that is necessary to nourish new growth.
The energy of the metal element descends and releases.  We see this in our bodies through the function of the lungs and colon, as we breathe in Qi from the heavens, inspiring, and then release what is no longer needed.  As we breathe deeply into our life, we can feel this movement in our minds and emotions as we contemplate our own soul, who we are, where we are going, and all that has come before us.  The nature of such reflections, and the physical sensation of descending qi, can make autumn a very heartfelt and emotional time of year for many.
When we are in balance we experience all emotions as transforming expressions of energy.  The healthy emotional expression of metal is grief blossoming into reverence.  In balance, we feel our metal element open the door to our soul and the certainty of who we are, what we are doing, and what is most important fills our thoughts and actions.  We become unwavering and stand strong behind our values.  Our life becomes illuminated as we become mindful of our subtle humanity, and the great beauty that resonates within us.
If we are out of balance with this energy we may suppress our sorrow, and prefer to stay on the surface of our potential.  With an out of balance metal energy,  it is also common to feel as though we are just on the outside of a warm embrace, or like we can’t quite see through the clouds to the other side.  We feel disconnected from our own spirit. 

When we experience loss or disconnection we naturally experience sorrow or can even become stricken with grief.  Be it a loved one who dies, loss of our health, loss of connection to our own heart, parting ways with a lover, or lost sense of our purpose and passion; grief naturally clouds over our minds and weighs on our chest when we are disconnected from what is most precious to us. 
It is natural to experience sorrow.  It is through the wales of our grief we come to know the depth of joy.  As the strong energy of autumn embraces us it is helpful to reflect on the virtues of metal element, and to recognize when we become out of balance.