Winter is related to the Water element. We have experienced the expansion and vitality of spring, the growth and joy of Summer, the bounty and generosity of Late Summer, and the reflection and letting go of Autumn. It is a time to go within and generate and store energy for the coming year. It should be a time of ample rest and quiet. Like the trees and animals, we need this time of quiet to build our reserves and reflect on our lives. In Winter, we can choose what ‘seeds’ we want to plant for the coming year.
Winter is a time of rest and rejuvenation. It is odd that our culture puts many social demands on us over the holidays. We are asked to be joyous, active, outgoing and gregarious. Yet, nature is saying we should be quiet and warm, sitting by the fire with friends, sipping tea and eating warm yummy foods. No wonder we get so stressed out over the holidays!!
Winter is related to the Water element and to the Kidney and Bladder meridians. The Water element is associated with one’s ability to handle cold weather and the emotion of fear. Besides regulating the kidneys, the Kidney meridian is related to the bones and the teeth, hearing problems, growth, maturity, and aging in general. The Bladder meridian controls the urinary bladder as well as the spine and the autonomic nervous system.
Suggestions for having a meaningful and healthy winter
- Take time to be still and reflective. Use the quiet time for inner work that will build your reserves for the next year.
- Keep warm – don’t allow yourself to get cold to the bone.
- Eat warming foods, including root vegetables, as well as, stews, beans, squash and whole grains.
- Get more rest. Follow the winter sun-go to bed earlier and rise later.
- Seek inner warmth through spending time with close friends, perhaps sitting by a fire, and drinking warm fluids.
- Dream. Use winter to let ideas and plans germinate. Wait until spring to begin new projects.
- Spend time beside various bodies of water (oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, and waterfalls). Notice the different qualities of water-its flow, force, and stillness. How is the water different at various times of day, in different seasons and weather conditions? As you grow in your awareness of and sensitivity to water in its natural forms, you will automatically and naturally grow in your awareness of the Water Phase within yourself.