In the darkest moment a spark of HOPE remains
As this year draws to a close in order for us to continue to grow & move forward, there are things that need to be left behind – this cycle, that is ending.
Next week is the Winter Solstice: on Wednesday, December 21.
The winter solstice celebrates the return of the LIGHT. It's the shortest day of the year; and the longest, darkest night. But, this is also the moment the Sun is born again – when the daylight begins to grow.
The winter solstice reminds us: even in the darkest moments, when all seems dead & frozen, a spark of HOPE remains.
And held within that spark is a limitless possibility.
The Sun has diminished as much as it possibly can. All of last year's growth has ended. The outside world is dead. Life has retreated deep inside.
There are similarities to our menopause journey. Through perimenopause and into menopause you have also come to the end of a growth cycle.
There are things you've outgrown: things you are leaving. This is a meaningful time to acknowledge & HONOR the endings that are occurring in your life. (Even if you don't know exactly what those ARE just yet.)
The winter solstice is also the moment when the Earth begins tilting back toward the Sun again, and the days begin growing longer. In the natural world, the winter solstice is the beginning of a new year: a new cycle of growth is beginning. By the very next day, the light starts returning.
This return, or the birth of the light, is the birth of Yang in the natural world. It is no wonder then that many traditional holidays of this season, such as Christmas, celebrate the return of light that heralds rebirth. This time of year, as the days finally begin to lengthen again, is the reminder of nature’s promise that all the five phases constantly move forward, and that the reason we need to periodically retreat into a state of storage and closure, is because that state allows us to move forward into springtime again, both happy and healthy.
The Solstice is a really hopeful, inspiring time on the wheel of the year; it's a time of INFINITE possibilities. This new spark that is lit on the winter solstice, this tiny flame of inspiration, has the potential to grow into ANYTHING.
The winter solstice is nature's reminder: even when life is its darkest, as dark as it gets, a tiny spark of light & hope remains.
Ask yourself: What new growth will this spark of light inspire in your life??
You don’t have to start this growth yet, just engage in self-reflection and planning (a Yin movement).
While we remain firmly in winter here are some TCM remedies and food to nourish the Yin and especially the kidneys, which is additionally beneficial for those in menopause.
Dark processed teas are more warming in nature, and these include oolongs, black teas, and Pu Erh teas. These are the types of beverages that should be consumed in winter. Pu Erh (普洱茶) is perhaps the best of these. This wonderful tea from Yunnan Province is traditionally made from the leaves of wild deep-mountain tea trees. The leaves are harvested and then put through a process of fermentation and ageing, and some high quality Pu Erh teas can be aged for 15 to 20 years or more. Not only is this tea warming but it also encourages the inward movement and storage of Qi that is desirable in winter.
Another home remedy for winter is foot soaking. The most important acupuncture point on the bottom of the foot is Yong Quan, the first point of the Kidney channel. Therefore, the entire bottom of the foot is governed by the Kidney channel.
Soaking the feet in hot water warms the Kidney channel, relaxes the body, and encourages mental calm. Epsom salts can be added to the water as salt is the taste and mineral associated with the Kidney. An alternative to Epsom salts is to boil sliced ginger root or few drops of sandalwood essential oil add to the footbath.
Sandalwood has a calming and centring quality, which is why sandalwood incense is used as a traditional meditation aid. This rare fragrant wood encourages the Qi to move into a state of storage internally and is thus quite appropriate for use in winter.
I wish you Happy Holidays with time to rest and reflect.
In the new year, my Qigong classes will be kicking off 3 times a week along with monthly workshops to support you from a holistic oriental medicine perspective to thrive through menopause and set the foundation of living longer well. I hope many of you will join me. More to come on that after I honour my own message to rest and recharge