Rebirth, Solstice and Qi
December is my birthday month, and while I've never loved the cold or the long dark days, I've always loved winter solstice, the tipping point for the light returning, the growth of new things, and all the wonderful seasonal celebrations, Spirit, and delicious food and activities associated with Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years.
The word Solstice arises from the Latin world, Solstitium, meaning "The Sun stands still", and was celebrated by the Romans as Saturnalia, from Dec 17-21, honouring the God of Saturn and the return of the sun. Similarly is the Pagan celebration of Yule, or Yuletide, which celebrates the joy at the birth of the Sun God, child of the Goddess. It is a celebration of Rebirth.
Of course, in the western world, we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Christ with similar feasts, gifts and celebrations.
In TCM, Winter Solstice is called Dong Zhi, or "the arrival of winter". Yin, or female essence, which is cold, dark, damp, earth and sustaining is at it's peak whereas Yang, or male essence, warm, light, dry and heaven, is at it's lowest. Winter is a time of reflection and introspection, a time to rest, nourish, and conserve Qi, in order to rebuild strength for Spring and Summer.
Of course, this is a time of rich foods and drink, and often excesses of both them, the best way to do this is to focus on eating nourishing foods, and keeping your neck and back warm, especially considering the kidneys.
Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, here are some tips to help build and sustain your Qi through winter and into Spring:
Release: Let it go isn't just for Frozen, and there is no time like the present to do it! What has been ongoing in your life that is continually holding you back? It doesn't matter if it's physical, mental, emotional or spiritual - release effects all aspects of our nature and Being. Although this is a time of busyness for shopping, entertaining, parties and "doing", the most important gift or Present you can give yourself, and your loved ones, is introspection and reconnection with Self.
Slow things down with meditation, connection with nature and stillness that reflects the slow and quiet nature of winter that comes with less light. Mother Nature has slowed down and is still. Align yourself and connect with this relaxed, still and quiet vibration. Rest, relax and rejuvinate.
Stay warm: It requires strong Wei Qi (defensive Qi) to fend off the cold and other pathogens. Keep Qi strong and vital by staying warm, and in particular, protecting the neck, low back, and kidneys. Kidneys are vulnerable to cold, so keeping them warm is essential for keeping Qi strong.
Eat Seasonal and Warm foods: Choose neutral and warm foods to sustain your qi. Pears to nourish Lung Qi, the organ associated with Wei Qi. Eat bone broth based soups and black foods to nourish Kidney, the organ related to winter, Jing (our inherited Essence) and Qi.
Practice: To support your body’s energy and energetic system, practice the Four Gates and Four Gates Qi Gong.
Give Back: There is nothing more fulfilling than generosity. It warms the heart and soul as it generates an internal abundance of joy and grace. It doesn't have to be financial, and truly, the gift of one's self, time and presence, is priceless. Kindness, thoughtfulness, love, empathy, and compassion...these are the timeless and universal messages of all celebrations surrounding rebirth.
With that, I would like to thank all of those who have checked in with me over the past 6 months, wished me well, sent me flowers, and otherwise let me know that you care about me. I am so grateful to all of you, and I hope to see you all again soon in 2020.
It's a new decade! Let's set the intention to make it a good one by making the transition from yin to yang, dark to light, and old to new one filled with Peace, Grace, and an abundance of Spirit.
Merry Christmas to all of you, and the Happiest of New Years and New Decades!