In Chinese medicine the winter season is connected with the elemental force of Water. All plants and animals are affected by this force and today I want to explain it more in detail. When we understand the forces in nature, and learn to live in harmony with them, we grow and blossom. This is the
first of a series of articles the benefits of the winter season.
Winter is a time of dormancy in plants and for some animals’ hibernation. Let us look at the life cycle of a tree for a moment. In winter it loses its leaves and appears “dormant”. Yet within the tree much is going on. Whilst its branches are bare on the outside, new buds are being formed. Also the seeds which dropped to the ground in autumn are being germinated.
Our bodies are the same in winter, a type of hibernation is needed so that the body can rest, and the seeds of new ideas within the core of our being can be germinated.
Winter is the time to stop and stay still. It is good to sleep in, go to bed early, slow down, snuggle up by the fire, or relax in a hot bath. Likewise with people, when we are quiet and rested, new ideas begin to formulate and arise. Reflect on where you are in your life, and be open to new possibilities. Allow yourself time to daydream, meditate, imagine.... It is important not to ‘think’ about new ideas too much, or make plans, just let them be and see what comes.
Read a little. Watch some movies. Listen to music that makes you relax and reflect. You know, the kind of music that takes you away on a journey (e.g. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon). Walk on the beach or by a lake. Talk less, socialise less and let your mind be quiet.
Lately, I have been listening to “Commencement Speeches” – these are given on Graduation Day at universities. Often the speakers tell of difficult times in their lives and how they overcame them. Click here to listen to Oprah’s fascinating speech at Harvard. I have also listened to inspirational talks. Louise Hay is running a summit at the moment: she is hosting many learned people like Deepak Chopra.
Another place of inspiration is TED talks. These have opened and stimulated my mind to new possibilities. They make me think of life and what it means to me.
Hibernation is when seeds are sewn and germinate. Then when spring comes we can use our mind (the Wood element) to bring these ideas into fruition.
Information on the Water Element comes from Gilles Marin’s book Five Elements, Six Conditions.