Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished-Lao Tzu
Nature slows down in winter and your health and well-being will benefit all year long if you do too. Each season has a distinct rhythm or energy. Aligning with the rhythm of the season supports your health and will begin to bring balance to your life. What is the rhythm of winter? Winter is slow, quiet, reflective and nourishing at the core.
The flow of life is moving inward towards mid-winter, heading to the sacred moment of the Winter Solstice.
If we slow down and get quiet, reflecting nature, it enables us to recharge ourselves in a deep way that we require. This quiet slow time is an opportunity to not only recharge our life-force but to reflect, listen and receive guidance about our life. It’s amazing what can pop up when we slow down and listen!
We think of the new year as a time to let go and declutter in order to start again. A time to set intentions and goals to make way for new things to come. This energy is actually present earlier than January 1st. It’s happening right now. The Winter Solstice, December 21st is Natures new year. It’s an ending and a beginning. One cycle ends and a new one begins.
The Winter solstice is the longest night and after that, the days slowly begin to get longer. The solstice is actually a special doorway in time that allows us to receive guidance and awareness for the future. It requires letting go to receive. It’s a good time to honor and celebrate in a way that supports this movement.
Gratitude for Life Every Season of the Year
Nature actually appreciates gratitude from humans. That’s because Nature is alive and aware. Life exists and thrives in a state of reciprocation. This is part of our ancestral agreement with Nature, to offer gratitude and an exchange for what we’ve been given in life.
A simple yet profound practice is to give thanks on a daily basis for the blessings in your life. Studies have shown that daily gratitude practices have a positive affect on our health and wellbeing. They found that people experience increased happiness, less anxiety and depression, better sleep and feeling more connected to others. That sounds pretty good to me!
Winter, Water and Gratitude
According to the Chinese Five Element Perspective of Energy, water is the element associated with winter. When it comes to practicing gratitude, giving thanks for water would be a good place to start. Water is sacred. Water is life. With out water, we would die.
Water is a precious life-giving fluid that we often take for granted in our culture. Can you image if water didn’t come out of the tap? Can you imagine having to hike to collect water? When you appreciate the rain, and water in general, it has a positive affect on the web of life. Gratitude is reciprocation. A simple gratitude practice would be to hold out your hand when it rains, allow the rain to touch your skin and say thank you. It’s a simple practice that makes a difference. Rain isn’t a given but a generous blessing bestowed upon us by the weather spirits.
Back to slowing down
You may be asking, how am I suppose to slow down when society is pushing me to go fast? Remember the ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu, “Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished”. Your life will actually work better if you take the time to slow down.
Take a moment to ask yourself, how can I make my days more spacious in winter? Can you take a break to sit with a cup of tea? Watch the sunrise or sunset? Or maybe go to bed earlier than usual? Notice when you go into ‘rush’ mode and ask yourself to pause for a moment and listen.
May the quiet wisdom of winter nourish your life-force so you can burst forth with new life energy in spring.