This Year, Winter began on November 7th. During this time, the Energy of Nature is going inward. The symbol is the Great Bear. The story is that while cold outside, inside there are warm drinks and harrowing tales of the year to share with friends and family. Outside, evening drops suddenly and early on us for the next few months and although the light will return after the Winter Solstice in a few weeks, Qi and Yang (Activity and Warmth) are not what Nature is expressing until the New Year of the Earth Pig on February 5th of 2019. Until then, we are encouraged to visit the Grandparents, eat warm, nourishing foods, and to breathe deeply. Winter will test our stores. Be cautious.
Although Winter is here, we have a similar amount of work to do. The kids go to school at the same time and just as often; the rent or mortgage is the same. The price of food is the same. All these things appear to demand the same time, money, and energy, but we don't have as much personal energy in the Winter. Keeping up our springtime pace is qi-expensive now.
During this time, Nature is going inward, but we go out shopping! We go to Office Holiday Parties, New Year’s Eve Celebrations. We drink spiked cider or other drinks that move qi and fluids recklessly in our system causing our mind to move recklessly also. Qi and Awareness become scattered while our deep, quiet roots starve for our attention. Various symptoms may present themselves from this reckless action, but the crux of the issue is that we are turning away from Winter’s Quiet. When acting like this, we have a hard time relaxing, letting go, and exhaling.
By going against Nature, we are inviting disharmony in our body and our lives. The disharmony may show itself differently from person to person, but we can expect a few things in Winter: low back pain and shortness of breath, weakened immune system (during the cold/flu season), insomnia, and even night sweats if we are more deficient. Winter is when we struggle more with fatigue, sadness and feeling hopeless, helpless, alone, and not enough. When we compare ourselves to our Summertime selves, we feel less than.
So...value Yin greatly! And fatigue and sadness may be balanced with deep, heartfelt warmth and appreciation. It is great to go to sleep early! It is great to exercise less! it is great to skip the office party! it is great to drink warming cider without the alcohol which thins our blood and fluids during a time when fluids in Nature are thickening and slowing. Overall, it is great to express Yin. To have less agenda, to settle in and not to polarize or magnetize.
This time of year is approximately 9:00pm on the year’s clock. The same time of day that we should be putting away our activities and moving inward toward sleep. Dinner is over a couple hours ago, even a good portion of digestion has taken place, and we are going to read, talk to a close friend, and breathe. Aligning with this attitude assists the movement from external to internal to be as smooth as it can be, as attuned to All Nature as we can be; so that mornings are still fresh even through January’s Cold. The opposite is what we often experience: hard to go to sleep at night, hard to wake up in the morning, and awarelessness throughout our day because we are fighting against the ebb and flow, the inhale and exhale of natural rhythms.
The contrast between what Nature allows and Life’s Demands is increasingly obvious as people stay up spinning their wheels about all that needs to be done for the upcoming Holidays, but the clarity of Qi and Pure Yang is not available. So very little progress is made. We should just go to sleep. And when we don’t just go to sleep, we will become tired and ineffective during the short day we do have. If we continue this pattern throughout the winter, we will have no bounce when Spring arrives in February, and over the course of many years, we age sooner, die younger and are less aware and alive during the time we are here.
If we are aware or not aware of going against Nature only matters a little. The illness, lethargy, and discontent that occurs is not punitive. It is just weather. We are not being bad when we go against nature; we are not being good when we go with Nature. And we are not being judged when there is an outcome that is not what we were hoping for. No judgement is coming down from any source, it is just how things are.