In Chinese Medicine, we often refer to our oldest classical medical text, the Huang Di Nei Jing, The Yellow Emperor Classic of Internal Medicine, written over 2000 years ago. It is comprised of 5 volumes and 81 chapters, very big heavy books! Already in Book 1: Su Wen (Basic Questions) Chapter 2, "The Treatise of the Harmony of Qi of the Four Seasons with the Human Spirit," we hear how a human being should adapt her/his Qi to the seasons to maintain good health. It writes of Yin-Yang, which many of us know as this symbol on the left. It is an image of balance and harmony of both dark and light; dark within the light and light within the dark, in constant motion of transformation.
Tai Ji Symbol
Back to Su Wen, Chapter 2, as translated by Henry C. Lu (www.acucentre.com.au):
"The three months of winter are the period in which everything is closed and stored. Water freezes and the earth cracks, so that Yang remains dormant not to be disturbed. It is desirable to sleep early and get up late, to await the arrival of sunlight, so that the will remains dormant as if hiding or pretending, not unlike someone with private intentions, not unlike someone with all his desires already fulfilled. In winter, one should avoid cold and remain warm and refrain from perspiring so that Yang energy will not be frequently attacked by cold energy. This is the way of nourishing life in response to the energy of winter. To act to the contrary will cause injuries to the kidneys and one will suffer weakened limbs in spring, because he is bound to be short of energy to cope with the spring."
Personally, I am an admirer of Trees. I view them as life-models, they provide me with guidance on how to live life. I observe them all year round and have come to acknowledge their deep wisdom. In Spring, they break through the earth to grow to meet the sun's rays of life-giving light and blossom to manifest their future offspring of fruit. Leaves are formed so that food can be self-generated through photosynthesis when they are exposed to the sun, to have enough energy for this growth process. As Autumn rolls around, the "tree-babies" become adult and ripen to become fruit, which then drop seeds in the earth that may produce more trees. The leaves fall and the energy of the tree sinks deep into the roots in order to store enough energy to break through in Spring again. This is an essential process for life and survival.
Winter is here, nourish your spirit, mind and the body. Go to bed earlier, find time for deep contemplation, such as in meditation or in mild exercise of the body or even writing/drawing your thoughts in a journal. Bring your Qi deeper into your "roots." Winter's storing is preparing you for what is to come.
Image by FelixMittermeier from Pixabay