Winter is a strange season. Actively disliked by many, endured and dreaded, it can be seen as something to 'get through', as February lurks with the twin dreads of Valentines Day AND the paradoxically shortest but longest month reputation.
I love winter.
I grew up in the North East of Scotland where snow was reliably deep (and crisp and even). The short days were full of light, as the blanket of white reflected the day and somehow made it more day. Power cuts weren't great, sure, but as a kid they were also adventures. Oil heaters, putting on school clothes while you were still in bed, candlelight. And community. Because when things get catastrophic you need your community.
As an acupuncturist I also have an appreciation for the gifts of the season, and its corresponding Element of Water, the expression of deepest Yin. In the deep, dark places within us are the seeds of our potential, the power to survive and thrive, imprinted in the Kidneys. We hold in each of us a blueprint that will lead us back to our self if we can remember to look.
In Katherine May's remarkable book 'Wintering' she talks about Winter not just as a physical season but as challenging time in our life, when all of our resources are called to bear just to survive. A break up, a serious illness, depression, loss, all of these herald a Winter of sorts. And she also talks about necessary these life events are to us all, as this is where we are invited to remember who we are, what's important, and how to live.
Chinese Medicine in its wisdom knew all this, that the challenges of Winter offer us a way back to ourselves. When the noise of the world is stilled by the snow on the ground, and moving around is difficult, and life is reduced to the interior, it is easier for us to naturally echo nature. We retreat. But when our winters are mild how to we give ourselves the gift - and it is a gift - of a good, hard winter.
What does that mean? Prune your life back to the essential, essentially, and go to your interior, your subconscious, your unconscious.
Sleep more, focus on quiet activities, tend your kidney essence and nourish your soul and self. Eat warm foods, draw yourself into your deep and swim in your waters there. If that makes you uncomfortable ask yourself why? What is busy-ness distracting you from? Why don't you deserve, or value, rest? What do you dream of?
And tend the areas of your life that are essential to you and your happiness. This isn't the time to start new projects, that is for the Spring. But sit with your ideas for the year, spend time with them so that when nature turns from dormancy to growth you are ready to grow too and the seeds of your desires have your full power behind them.
Winter well, my friends.
"`A sharp winter, sometimes, would do us good." - Katherine May
Passionate about the pins.
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