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Water, and how to get through winter

I posted a “very wintry” poem by the poet Han Yu, from the Tang dynasty (618-907). Between fatality and humor, he depicts the decrepitude of his teeth, a sign he reached the winter of his life. Read it on here on my blog.


To avoid Han Yu's mishap, knowing and understanding the characteristics of each season and adapting to them by implementing simple things is a wise way forward. And better late than never. As Seneca says in his Letters to Lucilius: “if you look closely, most of life is spent doing bad things, a good part of it doing nothing, all of life doing something else that what should be done. » So to get you on the right track, have a good winter and patiently and carefully prepare for the renewal of spring, I would like to talk to you about water...



Taylor Devereaux (Unsplash).

In Chinese medicine, water is associated with winter, the direction of the north and the kidneys. It is one of the five transformations (along with wood, fire, earth and metal) and an element with its particularities. In his Book of the Way and Virtue, Laozi describes water as "the good of the highest excellence", which "benefits the Ten thousand beings, which “dwells in places that man neglects” and “does not struggle”. When you observe it in Nature, water always takes the path of least resistance; it does not dominate and is content to take the form of what is imposed on it: “in a glass, it takes the shape of the glass; in a teapot, it becomes the teapot” said Bruce Lee. It's been raining a lot lately, and when you look at what the water does, it always finds the easiest path to flow to the lowest point. Yet, ultimately, it ends where a new cycle of water begins. This image depicts a return to the source.


Laozi describes water as “the good of the highest excellence”

Water, through its principles and its movements should inspire us, humans. In winter, a time of tranquility, of self-observation (introspection), a form of constructive solitude sets in which produces the necessary perspective to take stock of what has happened and to face and prepare what is to come. This season must lead one to “let flow”, but without abandoning all to chance. It is not a question of neglecting everything and finding yourself “helpless” in the spring, we might remember from La Fontaine (in reference to his fable The Ant and the Grasshopper).


A “place” not to be reluctant to visit during winter is the emotion of fear (linked to the season and the kidneys); not the so much the one that surprises but the one that immobilizes you and limits your desire to achieve. This is an opportunity to make yourself aware of your fears because if they dominate and persist, they can hurt your Essence and negatively influence your health. The Essence is in a way your source, the initial endowments with which you were born, the fruit of the meeting of the Essences of your parents, the root of your potential, which by nature can or cannot be expressed. Chronic fears can harm it. So facing your fears means allowing the turbid sediments to settle down at the source so that the downstream waters become naturally clear.


facing your fears means allowing the turbid sediments to settle down at the source so that the downstream waters become naturally clear

Approaching winter equinox, now is still a good time to take care of your kidneys with simple actions, like going to bed early and waking up late; eating nourishing dishes cooked for a long time, favoring foods that strengthen the kidneys; warm up and protect yourself from the cold; avoid persistent and extreme physical efforts, and prefer gentler activities where the movements benefit the kidneys.


If you are interested in learning more, my Seasonal Health Guides will help you better respond to the challenges of each season by finding new opportunities to improve your health.

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