Life is formed and develops in the water that holds the Essence of the body, called Jing. ( quite, still and gentle)

Winter teaches us that the only way to fully enjoy the powers of the season is to surrender to it and learn from what it has to offer us. In winter the earth lies fallow; nature appears frozen and dead. In this deep stillness of nature, winter calls us to look into our depths, to reconnect to our inner being, to befriend the darkness within us and around us. In winter—like the seeds that are beginning their metamorphosis and starting to manifest their destiny in the deep recesses of the earth—all of our energies are being called to examine the depths of our being.

This depth—our core—is the place where we are afraid to journey; so in this season of darkness we try to fill it with what appears to be light. We celebrate the holidays, eat and drink heartily, socialize frequently, and try to avoid the aloneness that winter calls us to, without realizing that the entry to our inner world is most accessible during this time of the year.

The Kidney and its Partner – The Bladder

Every organ in TCM has a partner – one is yin, the other yang. The Kidney is yin, and The Bladder is yang, and they work together to keep balance in the body. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches that the Kidneys (called the Storehouse of the Vital Essence) operate like a pilot light that can spark light within the entire body, mind, and spirit. Hence the reason to rest and not to run around depleting ourselves.

The bladder is where the water converges and where, after being catalyzed by chi, it is eliminated.” When the bladder is “leaky” or somehow not functioning properly, the entire system is in danger of bogging down and filling up with toxic wastes. Depression, fatigue, low will power.

How to Keep Healthy and Joyful During Winter

• Practice Self-acceptance: We all have fears; fears freeze us so that we feel stuck and hopeless, but observing our fears without judging them can liberate us from the stagnation that fear sows. We need to learn the gentle art of “witnessing” to ourselves without judging ourselves. Rather than attempting to overcome our fears, we can learn to recognize and accept them. Self-awareness and self-acceptance burns and thaws our fears so that we become “unstuck” and can move on healthfully.

  • Take Time to Listen and Recharge: Listen to your body, and take time to replenish your reserves, which will be needed during the surges of spring. Winter is a time to recharge; so learn to listen—listen to what others have to say and listen to your heart speaking to you. This is a time of receiving, not doing. Be patient.
  • Nurture Yourself Inwardly: Imagine that the ideas and images that have been planted and are germinating within you, as in a garden, will begin to sprout in the spring. Nurture these images of hope, but allow them to grow and develop within you quietly and naturally, just as plants grow.

• Nourish Yourself Well: Nourish yourself with warm food and drink lots of water; winter sucks the moisture out of your body. It is very important to hydrate by drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of fresh water daily. Eat warming foods such as root vegetables, whole grains, and small amounts of meat or fish protein. If you are a vegetarian, eat more beans, nuts, and tempeh.

• Keep Warm: Prepare for the weather, and dress accordingly. Chinese medicine says that the neck and shoulder areas contain the “Wind” points through which pathogens can enter, so keep these areas protected; wear a scarf and keep your neck covered. Meanwhile, enjoy everything that winter has to offer, within nature and within your inner self.