I believe in the natural cycles of the earth as a guide to what is at hand for me.
In the winter here, the land lies fallow, nourishing and composting. Within the self it is less a time of doing than of being. It is a time to dream, restore and reconnect. This time has traditionally been a time of reflection in many cultures.
In this American culture, it seems life goes on as always. The pace can pick up a bit around the holidays. There are people to see, things to do and places to go.
The energy feels frenetic on the highway, in schools, in the office and most places where people gather. It is palpable.
In my work, I travel to people’s homes. In this time of winter, neither snow, wind or rain is expected to keep me from the people who are in need. The expectation is that I will go and do my work no matter what the outside circumstances are.
I think that many people also feel there are expectations that they need to go and do, no matter what at this time of year. It is easy to be distracted by all the hustle and bustle for all of the holidays and it takes a conscious effort to go within and care for what is needed just for me.
The juxtaposition of what is called for inside, in the winter, and what is expected or demanded from the outside, creates stress.
It’s a critical time when the pace and energy is over the top and I am stressed. When this happens I have the choice to notice this or just push on.
Noticing is the first step in restoring; pushing on can spell disaster.
The body, I think, can sense what it wants and needs. The body gives clear signals and if not honored, then the body speaks loudly. It is like the great hand comes down and squashes me, laughingly saying, “You silly, what do you think you are doing?” and then I have to stop. There is no choice when one gets squashed. The body says, “You are not going anywhere until I say it is okay.” Healing can take much longer if we don’t listen to the signals that tell us to slow down.
There is an impatience, due to demands of daily life, where I just want to be healed instantaneously, all the while knowing from experience that restoration is a process.
Here are some things I have learned along the way about balance:
I am here now. Reconnect with myself.
Give my cells the oxygen and food they need. Give my mind and brain the chance to take a break.
>> Feel my toes, notice my hands, my spine.
Do a body check-in and notice each part of the body and notice what is being said.
>> Listen to what my body is telling me.
Is there a headache? Do the feet want a massage? Does the body just want to rest? Or move?
‘Tis the Season To:
>> Eat nourishing food.
Warm food. Foods that are orange, yellow and green. Roots like ginger, garlic, ginseng and honey. Take time to eat and fully be in the experience. Taste every bite. Savour the flavor.
>> Use plants, herbs, essential oils, and flower essences to assist in healing and prevention.
There are many native plants that have medicinal properties. Oregano, clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon, palmarosa, lavender and black pepper are just some plants that have antiviral and antibacterial properties. Unlike antibiotics, the plants themselves change from year to year, adjusting to environment, which i think gives them an edge in healing what is going around in the local environment. Lavender is a go-to for me. The good thing about plants is that one can ingest the plant material, make a tea from the plant or use the essential oil in a salve or spray. Flower essences tend to work on an energetic level. That is, they address emotional issues and stress before they can manifest in the body. I use them on an ongoing basis to keep things on an even keel.
>> Keep a body practice.
The body likes to move; it is meant to be in motion. Personally, I like to practice yoga in the morning before I work and after I get home. I also like to walk. There are multitudes of body practices out there and it is good to find one that works for you and that you like, even if it is putting on some music and dancing while you clean your home.
>> Sleep and quiet time.
There can be times when the body/mind just wants to rest. It wants quiet, nurturing time. Sleep and quiet allow the body/mind to restore and regenerate.
Connect with people who are soul food and places that feed your soul.
This is a time of reflection, insight and inspiration.
>> Be grateful for all that has been and what is coming now.
>> Find peace.
I have been a healthcare provider for over 25 years as a mother, an RN and a massage therapist as employment. I have studied geography, with an economic and cultural focus, nursing, massage therapy, aromatherapy, flower essences, accupressure, yoga, dance, meditation, the use of herbs and natural remedies as well as reiki and energy/vibrational medicine using sound, stones, intention and touch. I employ all of the above resources currently, in my healing work as a hospice nurse and in my interactions in everyday life. i provide education and resources in the community to empower people to create their own goals and plans for healing. All of my life experiences have prepared me for this work and continue to inform me. And I continue to go deeper into the question, “What is healing? And what heals?”
Editor: Dareni Wellman