As we begin to welcome the season of Winter – that time of quiet, stillness, peace, and unknowing – Winter is also rising within us. We start to go inward, becoming more reflective, contemplative, and serene. We listen deeply to the body, to our community, to the land, because everything is now still and quiet. This season gives us the gift of its full, attentive listening.
Imagine standing in a blanketed field of snow at night. Take yourself back to that moment of childlike wonder, when you were first held by that stillness. Some of us spend years, lifetimes, searching for this stillness. We try meditating, praying, chanting, maybe begging, for some kind of Divine intervention. But just think back to that one moment. That first time you unknowingly embraced the silence. You didn’t need to close your eyes and try to find it, because there it was. Already there within.
Listening, deep listening, may very well be the full embodiment of Winter. As healers we often channel the subtle expressions of Winter without even realizing it. In order to be fully present with those in our care, offer our deep listening to them, we become still, quiet, and peaceful. We embrace the unknowing as we sit and listen to their stories, conditions, and struggles, not always sure what we should do, or if we are up for the task.
So, we learn how to sit with our uncertainty, consider our options, speculating possibilities until something literally “springs” forth. The answer blossoms like flowers bloom in Spring – the Dandelion that pushes through snow stretching for the warmth of the sun. Then we celebrate our successes in the spirit of Summer, rejuvenate in the lazy days of Late Summer. And finally we come full circle to Autumn, as we let go of our past successes and prepare for the new challenges of Winter again.
This is the cycle of seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Late Summer, and Autumn. This is reality. This is a great truth of the Law of Nature, an authentic guiding principle which never falters. Climate change may cause environmental disasters, land may be damaged and eroded, cultures may adapt to a modern world, and sometimes traditional knowledge is lost in the process. People come and go from our lives. But this basic principle to everything that is remains the same. It lives within each of us and, because of that, all is never completely lost.
Every culture throughout history has had its roots deeply connected to the change of seasons. Our ancestors’ very survival largely depended on the whole community’s ability to adapt and move swiftly with the seasons. The five seasons have been the foundation for major inclusive philosophies, literature, art, and medical systems. Based on where people live, the seasons inform their very way of life. As modern people, seeing the first beginnings of a global community, this understanding is just as essential to our health and well-being as it was thousands of years ago.
Connelly, Dianne M., PhD., M. Ac. Traditional Acupuncture: The Law of the Five Elements. Center for Traditional Acupuncture, 1979.
TEDx Talks. Duggan, Bob. YouTube, YouTube, 9 Nov. 2009, www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D1O3b-1u6c. Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.