This past winter has been long, cold, and dark. Hopefully, you haven’t accomplished much. I mean that in all sincerity. After all, winter is the season of hibernation; we’re not supposed to accomplish much. Winter reminds us that rest is important. I say so often that rest is the root of productivity, something that a culture obsessed with action often forgets. But rest is also the root of creativity and motivation. If we spend winter resting appropriately, not only can we recover physically, but we can recover mentally and spiritually as well. In other words, in order to be truly prepared for the dynamic, generative, and upward movement of spring we have to engage with and process the still, slow, and inward movement of winter. And the best way to do that is through journaling.

Born from yin: Six journaling prompts for the end of winter

This past winter has been long, cold, and dark. Hopefully, you haven’t accomplished much. I mean that in all sincerity. After all, winter is the season of hibernation; we’re not supposed to accomplish much.

Winter reminds us that rest is important.

I say so often that rest is the root of productivity, something that a culture obsessed with action often forgets.

But rest is also the root of creativity and motivation. If we spend winter resting appropriately, not only can we recover physically, but we can recover mentally and spiritually as well.

In other words, in order to be truly prepared for the dynamic, generative, and upward movement of spring we have to engage with and process the still, slow, and inward movement of winter. And the best way to do that is through journaling.

This seasonal node is called "The Great Cold" (which this year, is unseasonably warm and snowy but what are you going to do.) Usually, this is the coldest time of year; Minnesotans tend to think of February as the month where it's too cold to snow. The yang that was reborn at the Winter Solstice is getting stronger as the days are getting longer. People are starting to get restless and depending on their pattern diagnosis, their seasonal affective disorder is kicking up a notch. Living seasonally for these last two weeks of winter can go a long way to alleviating that increased anxiety and restlessness and set you up for success for the coming year.

Gearing up for the Great Cold Seasonal Node

This seasonal node is called “The Great Cold” (which this year, is unseasonably warm and snowy but what are you going to do.) Usually, this is the coldest time of year; Minnesotans tend to think of February as the month where it’s too cold to snow.

The yang that was reborn at the Winter Solstice is getting stronger as the days are getting longer. People are starting to get restless and depending on their pattern diagnosis, their seasonal affective disorder is kicking up a notch.

Living seasonally for these last two weeks of winter can go a long way to alleviating that increased anxiety and restlessness and set you up for success for the coming year.

It may not feel like this is a small amount of cold. But then you remember that last year the Great Cold seasonal node was blessed with a -60 F windchill last year. It was cold enough that even we Minnesotans decided that we could stay home. My grocery store closed. It was very strange. Compared to that, the cold at the beginning of the year seems small indeed. The Small Cold seasonal node lasts from January 5th to January 19th.

The Wee Hours of Winter: The Small Cold Seasonal Node

It may not feel like this is a small amount of cold. But then you remember that last year the Great Cold seasonal node was blessed with a -60 F windchill last year. It was cold enough that even we Minnesotans decided that we could stay home. My grocery store closed. It was very strange.

Compared to that, the cold at the beginning of the year seems small indeed. The Small Cold seasonal node lasts from January 5th to January 19th.

Last week we introduced the concept of seasonal nodes and how tweaking your lifestyle and diet every couple of weeks can not only preserve your health but improve it. Since the focus of this seasonal node is preserving yang qi by supporting the spleen I thought it would be an ideal time to share a yang tonifying recipe. Be warned: the recipe is pretty bland (it’s mostly rice and water) but if you eat it as is or with some tasty root veggies or eggs, I think you’ll find that you’ll feel warm from your fingers to your toes in no time.

Nourishing Winter Congee

Last week we introduced the concept of seasonal nodes and how tweaking your lifestyle and diet every couple of weeks can not only preserve your health but improve it.

Since the focus of this seasonal node is preserving yang qi by supporting the spleen I thought it would be an ideal time to share a yang tonifying recipe.

Be warned: the recipe is pretty bland (it’s mostly rice and water) but if you eat it as is or with some tasty root veggies or eggs, I think you’ll find that you’ll feel warm from your fingers to your toes in no time.

Staying warm after the Winter Solstice

Wow, friends. It’s definitely winter. I do like seasonal change but sub-zero temps can be a little much for even me.
How did you survive? Hot cocoa? Sauna? Hibernating under a blanket? (No really, I want to know so leave a comment below.)

I opted for hibernating. ‘Tis the season, after all. And it was while I was sitting on my couch with my mug of coffee I had a thought: we’ve already covered the basics of seasonal living. We’ve touched on every season. But do you know what we haven’t done? The seasonal nodes.

What are the seasonal nodes? Read on to find out.

(more…)
November is upon us and the first snows have fallen! I am currently sitting here this Sunday morning with a cup of coffee and my favorite sweater and fleece lined leggings (and a bit of French silk pie because I am an awful example for healthy breakfasts). This week breastfeeding became legal in all 50 states which is a huge, if incredibly delayed) win! Check out this and other things I found on the wide and scary internet in this week’s Sunday round up!Featured image and cover photo by Ruvim Miksanskiy from Pexels

Sunday Round-Up 5: Winter is here

November is upon us and the first snows have fallen!

I am currently sitting here this Sunday morning with a cup of coffee and my favorite sweater and fleece lined leggings (and a bit of French silk pie because I am an awful example for healthy breakfasts).

This week breastfeeding became legal in all 50 states which is a huge, if incredibly delayed) win! Check out this and other things I found on the wide and scary internet in this week’s Sunday round up!

Yesterday’s deep dive into kidney disorders focused on kidney yin disharmonies. Kidney yin disorders have a lot of hot signs – hot flashes, night sweats, dry throat, etc – because the kidney yin can’t cool the body. It’s a lot like not having enough coolant in your car’s engine. Kidney yang disorders are cold in comparison. Lacking kidney yang means the starter isn’t working. And that’s what we’re going to cover today. Featured image and cover photo by Adonyi Gábor from Pexels

Kidney Yang Disharmonies: The Other Half

Yesterday’s deep dive into kidney disorders focused on kidney yin disorders. Kidney yin disorders have a lot of hot signs – hot flashes, night sweats, dry throat, etc – because the kidney yin can’t cool the body. It’s a lot like not having enough coolant in your car’s engine. Kidney yang disorders are cold in comparison. Lacking kidney yang means the starter isn’t working. And that’s what we’re going to cover today.

Kidney disharmonies and imbalances are the heart of many people’s fertility struggles. The kidneys, when combined with the liver, form the root of how hormones are developed and move throughout the body. The kidneys themselves govern our growth and development as well as our reproductive potential. And the kidneys are also one of the only systems that have a predictable pattern of change throughout our lifetimes. Understanding kidney disharmonies isn’t about preventing them like it is with liver and lung disharmonies. It’s about balancing changes to make the process of aging more comfortable and preventing that change from negatively impacting other organ systems. Because the kidney system is literally the foundation of our bodies and all of our yin and yang, I’ve divided it into two parts. Today we will discuss kidney yin deficiencies and imbalances and tomorrow’s post will discuss kidney yang disharmonies. Featured image and cover photo by Irina Iriser from Pexels

Kidney Disharmonies: Foundations of Yin

Kidney disharmonies and imbalances are the heart of many people’s fertility struggles. The kidneys, when combined with the liver, form the root of how hormones are developed and move throughout the body. The kidneys themselves govern our growth and development as well as our reproductive potential. And the kidneys are also one of the only systems that have a predictable pattern of change throughout our lifetimes.

Spring carries the energy of the maiden – the prepubescent girl with her whole life ahead over her. Summer is the young mother, pregnant or having just given birth. Autumn is the experienced mother, still guiding her children, but watching them make their own decisions. Winter is the time of the crone. If you look at the definitions of crone online you find: an old woman who is thin and ugly. Or that she’s cruel, malicious or sinister. But if you dig into the archetype of the crone or listen to the stories women tell each other about old women you see something different. You see a wise woman who uses the lessons she’s learned in life to guide those younger than her to the right path. The crone teaches us that death cycles are inevitable. Winter always comes, age marches on and one day, we too will be grandmothers. And that scares us. It scares us in the way the nadir of death cycles always scares us. We don’t like cold, we don’t like darkness and we don’t like endings. But every woman who menstruates will one day go through menopause. That process will mark the end of her reproductive days. As an ending, that’s scary. As a process, it can be frustrating. This post has two purposes: to give you a guide through menopause to make the transition from mother to crone (or Wise Woman, or Grandmother) go more smoothly and also to show you that as part of a cycle it may be an ending, but it is not the End. Cover photo and featured image by Edu Carvalho from Pexels

Menopause: The Time of the Wise Woman

Spring carries the energy of the maiden – the prepubescent girl with her whole life ahead over her. Summer is the young mother, pregnant or having just given birth. Autumn is the experienced mother, still guiding her children, but watching them make their own decisions.

Winter is the time of the crone.

If you look at the definitions of crone online you find:

an old woman who is thin and ugly.

Or that she’s cruel, malicious or sinister.

But if you dig into the archetype of the crone (affiliate link) or listen to the stories women tell each other about old women you see something different. You see a wise woman who uses the lessons she’s learned in life to guide those younger than her to the right path.

The crone teaches us that death cycles are inevitable. Winter always comes, age marches on and one day, we too will be grandmothers. And that scares us. It scares us in the way the nadir of death cycles always scares us. We don’t like cold, we don’t like darkness and we don’t like endings.

But every woman who menstruates will one day go through menopause. That process will mark the end of her reproductive days. As an ending, that’s scary. As a process, it can be frustrating.

This post has two purposes: to give you a guide through menopause to make the transition from mother to crone (or Wise Woman, or Grandmother) go more smoothly and also to show you that as part of a cycle it may be an ending, but it is not the End.

(more…)
When you work with the seasons and death cycles, you learn that decline is a part of life and it’s usually a healthy part of the process. Trees wouldn’t flourish in the summer if they didn’t rest in the winter, the day doesn’t happen without the night and we wouldn’t continue our reproductive cycle without healthy menstruation. Have you been told your entire life that your period is gross, something you shouldn’t talk about, something shameful or even, sinful? What would happen if you saw it has a healthy sign of ovulation and embraced it as a time of rest? My bet is that it would be life changing and if you’re interested you should definitely read on. Featured image and cover photo by Tyler Lastovich from Pexels

Taming the Red Dragon: Menstruation in Chinese Medicine

When you work with the seasons and death cycles, you learn that decline is a part of life and it’s usually a healthy part of the process. Trees wouldn’t flourish in the summer if they didn’t rest in the winter, the day doesn’t happen without the night and we wouldn’t continue our reproductive cycle without healthy menstruation.

Have you been told your entire life that your period is gross, something you shouldn’t talk about, something shameful or even, sinful?

What would happen if you saw it has a healthy sign of ovulation and embraced it as a time of rest? My bet is that it would be life changing and if you’re interested you should definitely read on.

Featured image and cover photo by Tyler Lastovich from Pexels