Winter’s Silence…

By Sarah Petty L. Ac., Dipl. Ac. on February 8th, 2012

The Winter Rain

The leveling of the water, its increase,

the gathering of many into much:

in the cold dusk I stop

midway of the creek, listening

as it passes downward

loud over the rocks, under

the sound of the rain striking,

nowhere any sound

but the water, the dead

weedstems soaked with it, the

ground soaked, the earth overflowing.

And having waded all the way

across, I look back and see there

on the water the still sky.

–Wendell Berry

It is interesting to see how people react to this incredibly mild winter this year. Most people are loving it, but winter is a very crucial time for us. Winter is a time to practice stillness. It is natural for our bodies to want to sleep earlier and rise later. It is natural for our bodies to want to conserve energy to build a storehouse of Qi. In nature this can present as a seed. The seed is buried deep within the ground, where it is cold and dark. No one can see what is happening inside the seed, but we know when the time is right, that tiny seed will burst forth any number of plants, several times its original size. Winter is our seed time. It is our time to practice deep stillness, so that we can potentiate our will to manifest our destiny in this life. Without this stillness, we can become run down, exhausted, unmotivated, lost, depressed and ill. The weather outside may be saying, “forget the coat and go for a run!” But I call you to listen to your body. Is it telling you to go go go!? Or is it saying, “rest now-the time to do will make itself known when the time is right.” Even in this mild winter, it is important to sink into a lovely stillness and to listen to our body’s wisdom.

Practicing stillness can start with sitting upright in a chair and focusing on your breath. When thoughts bubble up, take another deep breath and let it pass upon your exhale. Are your shoulders tense? Your legs? Your arms? Let go. Soften your face into a gentle smile. Keep breathing into your lower belly.

The key word here is ‘practice’. Set aside ten minutes of stillness. It may be uncomfortable at first, but practice makes permanent. No need to get discouraged. Like any practice, you’ll get the hang of it.

Tune in next week for more healthy tips!

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