2017-03

For my fellow east-coast dwellers, this post is for you…

Here you stand, whether you realize it or not, in the space between the seasons. Look at the symbol for Yin and Yang. Look at the inner part of the circle. Do you see the line curved down the middle where the black ceases to be black and becomes white instead, where the white ceases to be white and becomes black instead? Well, that’s where you are standing -in the grey pixels of the seasons where you get a bit of both; a warm spring-like day followed abruptly by a winter blizzard. Right now it is neither Winter nor Spring. Right now we are in the seasonal Tao.

To Spring, Winter is Yin
Yin is dark.
Yin is sinking.
Yin is cool water (rain and snow)
Yin energies flow inward; quiet and introspective.
Yin is internal.
Yin is protecting, storing, germinating.
Yin is death.
Yin is Sleeping.

During winter, trees, animals and people hibernate. The dark cold days prompt us to stay indoors by the fire resting and replenishing. For nourishment, we are attracted to warm teas, broths and hearty soups and stews. We nurture the inner Yang energies (warmth) to counter the outer Yin energy (cool) that nature brings. We are cultivating balance, the Tao.

To Winter, Spring is Yang
Yang is light.
Yang is rising.
Yang is the warm fire (the sun and Qi, or Ki)
Yang energies flow outward; expansive and dynamic.
Yang is external.
Yang is arousing, transforming, and activating.
Yang is birth.
Yang is awakening.

As Spring emerges, so do the trees, animals and people. Life literally springs into activity. The longer, brighter, warmer days ignite our desire to be outside, stretching our muscles. We are now tempted to eat more cleansing foods, berries and salads and lighter soups. Now we nurture the inner Yin energies (cool) to counter the outer Yang (warmth) energy that nature brings. Still, we are seeking harmony, the Tao.

This inbetween state can be confusing for east coasters, especially the ones younger than retirement age. Why? Because in our snooze-you-lose culture, to succeed, it is encouraged and celebrated to have more Yang energy (driven, hard-working, smart, and ambitious), than Yin (reserved, quiet, wise, and patient). So instead of spending the winter doing what nature was telling you to do; go inward, rest, connect with yourself and your family, you instead spent January and February pushing your energy outward. Perhaps you planned out your year, jumped into some “how-to” classes to learn how to do things better, differently or to make more money. Perhaps you started one or two or three projects, or joined a master-mind group. My guess is that you spent January and February being as productive as possible.

Here’s the thing:

Spring is the time for creative planning, Winter, not so much. While you may find bright sunshiney days in the middle of winter (yang), being as productive as possible at a time when, overall, nature goes to elaborate lengths to get you stay inside your home and inside your own heart, can lead to imbalance. You may be experiencing such imbalance as:

  • Unsustainable energy. You may find you don’t have the physical, mental or emotional resources you need to get the stuff done.
  • Erratic energy. You wake up with a burst of energy in the morning, but feel depleted by 2pm, or  you wake up groggy but by 10pm are feeling on top of the world.
  • You feel like you are pushing too hard; Things may not go the way you want at the pace you expect.
  • You may find yourself getting recurring colds or flu-like symptoms.
  • You may have difficulty focusing and prioritizing.

Nature is an incredibly beautiful and wise teacher. Nature reminds us that life is in constant motion. Notice how Winter does not cause Spring, but rather, Winter creates the right conditions for Spring to emerge. All the seasons create the right conditions for the following season to be born and the preceding season to die. Just as the seasons are in a cycle, so are you -at the macro level of your life; from the time you were born to the time you die, and at the micro level of your every day life; from the time you wake up to the time you fall asleep. Each day is a life lived. So…

Wake up!
Pay attention!
Observe nature!
Observe yourself in relationship with nature!
Observe yourself as nature!

Just like the symbol for Yin Yang shows by the small circle in each of the two halves, even in the Yang of Winter, we have a little bit of Yin -a bold sun shining on freshly fallen snow, and even in the Yin of  Spring, we have Yang -a monsoon rain that washes away the tender cherry blossoms. Just like the seasons outside of you, you have both Yin and Yang energies cycling, ebbing and flowing within you. For you to thrive, it is vital you pay attention to your own nature and how it relates to the nature of your environment. Let us say that you push through winter like a harried hare and now the plants and flowers are waking up and, according to their nature, and ours too, frankly, they desire to reproduce, the male portion of the flower (a Yang action) ejaculates, in abundance, its pollen, which you breathe in (a Yin action). Your kidneys, by the way, are said to hold your body’s most fundamental energy and winter is the time to rest them (and your adrenals) so that you have that energy available to you supported by a replenished immune system (Yang) in Spring and Summer to plan, create, work and play. But! Because you didn’t rest and replenish when Old Man Winter told you to, your immune system isn’t going to be strong enough to be able to handle the intrusion of the pollens into your system and so you are more susceptible to allergies.

Ask yourself, what could I be doing differently?

In case you are the hare scurrying full pelt into Spring without ever having rested in Winter, here’s a little guide to help you prepare you for the energy of budding Spring so you don’t pass out at the finish line (not that there is one 😉):

  1. Pause. Consider starting a daily meditation practice. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just commit to sitting still listening to your own breath for 10, 15 or 20 minutes. Here’s a short guided meditation to help you get started.
  2. Honor your body’s need to rest. Take a 30 minute nap in the afternoon if your body tells you it wants to lay down and rest.
  3. Set time aside to clean out closets. Donate or recycle old clothes and accessories that are worn or you simply don’t wear any more. Clean out kitchen cabinets for food that is passed its use-by date. Clean out your bookshelves. Donate books to little libraries or pass them onto friends.
  4. Prepare to cleanse the body. According to Oriental medicine, Spring aligns with the energy pathways that govern liver and gallbladder. Take cleansing teas and avoid processed foods, additives and man-made stimulants. You may want to participate in a Healthy Eating Challenge, like the one my friend Elizabeth Girouard facilitates.
  5. It is said in Oriental medicine that liver energy also governs the eyes. Choose liver cleansing teas to help your physical sight and your spiritual sight, your insight (insight, get it? Look within sight?). Just as Spring is a time to clean out your home, it is also a time to clean up your inner stuff -old hurts, limiting beliefs and anything that keeps you stuck and holds you back from your own evolution (which can manifest in the Summer).
  6. Take time to take stock of the projects you hurried to get started at the beginning of the year, and ask whether these projects are truly in alignment with your soul’s purpose here. (If you don’t know how to access this wisdom, consider an in-person or Skype session with me to help you find out. See the footer for information on how to set that up).
  7. Make an appointment with an established energy and light-touch practitioner to help balance the endocrine system, calm the nervous system, cleanse, and align the major energy centers. (If you are local to NJ, consider booking a one-on-one session with me. See below for ways to make an appointment).

The thing to be aware of as a participant of a modern lifestyle is that you have access to non-local, non-seasonal foods all year round, and technology has insidiously taught you to ignore nature’s clock. Just think. Back in the middle ages, before electricity, you ate locally and seasonally and you went to bed when the sun went down, you awoke again at midnight to make love, have quiet conversation with a family member, visit a neighbor, study by candlelight, or spend the time in quiet reflection, and then went back to sleep to awaken at dawn to do your work (Read this fascinating New York Times article on Rethinking Sleep). So gently, I ask you again to ask yourself, “Knowing now what I just now know, what could I be doing differently?”

Do you not see
That you and I
Are as the branches of one tree?
With your rejoicing
Comes my laughter;
With your sadness
Starts my tears
Love,
Could life be otherwise
With you and me?
-Tsu Yeh
(Tsin Dynasty, A.D. 265-316)

To Your Freedom, With Love,

💕

Andrea

www.andreagrace.com


To identify and shift limiting beliefs, consider a one-on-one session. Sessions can be in-person if you are local to New Jersey (I am located in Berkeley Heights), USA, or via Skype if you are elsewhere. You may also wish to consider learning a natural healing art such as Reiki as a method of self-care. In the second level (degree) of Reiki, breakthrough limiting beliefs to clear the environment for creation and manifestation.
Email Andrea at info@andreagrace.com, or call: 908-271-6670 x 1. You may need to leave a message. I will return your call within 48 hours unless I am traveling.

Advertisements