Thursday, 30 May 2024

Being not doing: The energetic gifts of winter and the water element

Winter is a time for slowing down. Slowing way down. Like the seed underground, quietly growing its roots, we also need to take time for storing up and conserving our energy.

We have moved from the fall, the season of release and letting go, to receiving the time of winter, the most Yin and internal time of the year.

Winter is a time of rest, stillness and replenishment of our deepest resources. It's the time to connect with our root energy, to grow deeper within ourselves, in order to support growth for the coming Spring.

In Chinese Medicine the winter season corresponds with the water element.

Water is about our ability to flow and overcome obstacles. Water energy can resemble a mighty river or a trickling stream, the waves of the ocean, a frozen lake, or the gentle rain.

Water is a transformative substance. When we take the time to be quiet and internal, and “be” in the stillness of our Water energy, we allow a transformative process to occur.

The body/physical gift of water element is rest and solitude, to rebalance and replenish our reserves. When we have enough reserves, we have strength, drive, perseverance and the ambition to reach our fullest potential.

We can manage our physical energy in a balanced way. We don't go into an 'overdoing' mode, or feel too fearful to take risks and try new things.

The mind/emotional gift of the water element is trust, faith, and courage. Water is the renewal of our deepest self-essence and the 'blueprint' for the unfolding of our lives. If our water energy is too low or out of balance we may feel fear, anxiety, and stress from not being able to live our fullest lives.

The spirit gift of the water element is the will, the capacity to persevere and adapt, to nurture our intuition and tap into our creative side, to fully manifest who we are.

The water element grants us the capacity to more deeply discover the essence of our self, and to grow “roots” in our being that anchor ourselves into who we are.

Keys to being in balance in the winter season

Take time to be in the season's stillness. Allow yourself to be quiet and create a space to listen to your deepest self-essence.

Stay warm, reduce outward activities to conserve your energy during the colder, darker months. This is energy you are storing up for the coming spring.

Take a quiet walk outside in the fresh air, listen to relaxing music, read books or listen to books on tape. Take care of yourself, take a soothing bath or a hot foot soak. If you can, get a massage or an acupuncture treatment to stay balanced in the winter season.

Take time to discover more about yourself through reflection, being more aware of your senses, and paying attention to your dreams. The winter season is an especially good time to begin the practice of meditation.

Moderate exercises like Chi Gong, Tai Chi, yoga and Pilates are good for water energy.

Drink warm herbal teas, like camomile, ginger tea and Bengal Spice. Eat warm foods, soups, plenty of steamed vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Try dishes made with whole grains, squashes, beans, peas and dark leafy greens like Swiss chard, kale and bok choy.

Drink plenty of good quality water. Avoid too many cold foods and cold drinks, and eat less sugar and dairy, as all of these can weaken your immune system.

Stay warm, cover the back of your neck to not let the cold wind enter your body, as this is the pathogen that can cause colds and flus. Cover your low back area, to protect your kidneys and bladder area, which stores your reserves of energy.

All of these measures can help to maintain your strength and resilience, for preventive health and well-being.

Follow the wisdom of water: the effortless response to its environment, adapting to change, yielding yet persevering, the courage to stay the course, and staying rooted to one’s essence.

Spring always follows winter. We don’t know what next spring will look like, yet if we follow nature’s way and allow ourselves to be immersed in winter’s gift of rest and replenishment, we will emerge in spring with restored, vibrant energy, a clear vision and a strong rooted sense of how to move forward in our life.

Wendy Weiss has been practicing acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for 30 years. She can be reached for more information on acupuncture and Chinese Medicine at 707-277-0891.

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