Does the Coming of Winter Fill you with Dread?
Winter is a super fierce season (I lived in Maine for two short years and was completely in awe of the audacity and sheer force that is winter) that brings up all sorts of feelings.
Fear, scarcity, anxiety, depression and dread. And also awe, wonder, mystery, intrigue, and calm.
Winter itself is a commanding (and demanding) season. Winter forces us to come face-to-face with our own limitations. You can freeze to death, or (in the era before big box stores and bodegas) run out of food.
Winter also asks us to turn inwards and to learn how to be less clumsy in the dark. If we lean into winter and listen to its requests, we learn how to navigate the lean times; we learn how to conserve our energy, to push less, and to ride the wave of the snow outside our window.
When I see new patients, I always ask about their least favorite and most favorite season on my intake forms because this gives me a sense of where someone tends to live energetically. Most people’s feelings about winter are polarizing. It’s either fear-scarcity-anxiety-depression-dread or the awe-wonder-mystery-intrigue-calm side of the spectrum.
If winter fills you with dread, don’t worry--you’re definitely in alignment with nature. This time of year naturally elicits a sense of scarcity. Resources are not abundant in nature or in us during winter. The emotion associated with this time of year in the Chinese classics is, appropriately, “fear.”
The flip side of fear in Chinese Medicine is “wisdom.” If we can learn to lean into our fears and figure out which fears to lie to rest and which to honor by backing down graciously, we can access our own innate instincts and our own embodied wisdom.
Beneath the surface of winter lies the depths of our wisdom and cleverness. If you can learn how to lean into your fears by looking closely at them without backing down, winter offers you the opportunity to see clearly what qualities and virtues are needed to help you live your best life.
If you’re wondering why you’re feeling depleted or anxious as winter begins, consider stopping to take a look at your own cycles of rest. Do you allow yourself ample water and sleep? Are you eating in a way that fuels you for the long haul or are you relying on coffee and sugar to make it to the next meal?
With the holidays looming, winter is, unfortunately, the season of burn-out in our culture. We start a big push just at the time that nature is asking us to rest.
If you’re feeling depleted, anxious, uneasy as winter encroaches, consider what you can do to restore yourself. Acupuncture allows you to even out your energy and provides a resting place to help your body and mind integrate and heal. This is part of why acupuncture can help with anxiety. A good treatment can take the edge off and give you a break to realign yourself and your intentions.
Getting help before you’re completely wiped out will be better and is a safer bet than waiting until your gas tank is completely empty and trying figure out how to drag yourself to the next station to refuel.
If you would like to talk more about how acupuncture might benefit you, reach out to me. I’m always happy to hear from you and to talk with you.
If you’re already benefiting from regular acupuncture treatments at any interval (even seasonal treatments every few months can be a big benefit to your health and wellbeing), consider giving the gift of acupuncture to someone you love with a beautiful gift card. You can purchase through my website and have the gift card mailed wherever you like. Gift cards do expire three months from the date of purchase.
I’m also super pleased (and somewhat embarrassed?!!) to announce that I made the list of Top Twenty Best Acupuncturists in Philly as rated by Expertise. Expertise reviewed 324 acupuncturists, narrowed it down to 202 and then funneled that list into 20. I am very honored to be included on this list with my colleagues and teachers Lance Isakov and Damini Celebre of Village Wellness in Berwyn (which I can highly recommend). Check out the list and read more about the criteria used to rate these acupuncture practices.
With blessings for all of the people I serve, and for you; may winter inspire awe in your heart.