I’ve been practicing a little over twenty years and every year at this time I watch those around me get a little sick, gain a little weight and go a little crazy all in celebration of “the most wonderful time of the year.” I’m sure that you’ve been bombarded with suggestion and encouragement from health magazines etc. on how to have a healthier holiday season and I hope you’re going to do your best to follow them. I’d like also to give some advice but I’d like to approach it from the perspective of the 5 elements of Eastern Medicine.
The five elements have association with every part of our life; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I use it to guide the way I use acupuncture and herbs to treat patients. The chart above is focusing on the elements relationship with the seasons of the year and the type of activity that we should be engaging in during a particular season. You’ll see that during the spring, the wind or wood season, it’s a time of rebirth. Ice thaws, creeks fill up, flowers bloom, trees take on leaves the whole birds and bees thing. Then comes the summer which is a growth period. We’ve gotten the life flowing again and now the fiery energy of summer shines and it’s a time of productivity and growth. By the time the Fall comes the crops should be ready for harvest. We store up all that we’ve brought in so we can make it through the winter. Winter is associated with the water element and that may seem confusing but it actually makes sense. A good topic for another article.
Compare the year to a single day. We get out of bed in the springtime of the day, do most of our work during the summer, get home, have dinner and tie up a few chores in the fall and then we start to shut down and get ready for bed in the winter. This may seem ridiculously “Little House on the Prairie-ish” but it is actually the way nature intended. It would be good to try to at least move in this direction.
Which brings me to the point of the article. Look around you and what do you see? Everyone is getting ready for another holiday season that will deplete our bank accounts at a time when we should be conserving, serve up large amounts of high calorie, low energy food at a time we should be taking in small or moderate portions of nutrient dense food, and finally place huge amounts of stress on us in the form of holiday shopping, running off from one party to another and staying up later than usual when we should be resting. Resting. Call me scrooge but each year I hear more and more, “can we just skip it this year?”
This time of year really is best for slowing down, sitting with a few friends and family over a warm nutritious simple meal that didn’t freak everyone out to get it just perfect. Relaxing. When I lived in New Mexico this was a time of year when people would have “parties” that would be centered around meditation. Guests would arrive and have a glass of wine or a cup of herb tea and then we’d sit and meditate for a little while, have something to eat, talk for awhile, meditate again. It would just flow and it was lovely.
So I know that most of us have others that are expecting it to be a certain way, Change sometimes happens very slowly. Still, take a look at all that you do and how you do it. Small changes.
You might see places in your schedule where there’s a space. Instead of filling it up, let it remain open. Find the time to just sit and be. A time to do nothing. Feel the stillness of the winter. Allow it in. Let it still your mind and calm your heart.