Rather than fighting against the natural cycles of our planet, I believe we should live with the seasons, and in winter this means more introspection, stillness, peace, calm, and rest.
In Chinese Medicine, winter is equated to the water element ‘Shui’ where all life stems from whether it is from the rivers and oceans or from the heavens in the form of rain. Water is also one of the most malleable elements, able to flow around different obstacles. It can be both calm and overpowering, shallow and deep. In a recent book I read by Debra Katz, there is a quote that helps inspire the qualities of water; “in order to flow well in life we need the qualities of water of being able to rebalance extremes, of being still and pure in our own essence, of being unafraid of plunging forward, and of being able to reach profound depths.” However, in order to do this, we need to rest and retreat!
The problem is, many of us feel the pressure to constantly “do” and so will go against the natural rhythms of nature because being busy is often equated to success and doing nothing is seen as being lazy. However, in one of my favourite books, by the late Lillian Bridges, her grandmother stressed to her that ‘boredom was good luck’ because it means you have choices to make and that you don’t have to do what others wanted you to do, which gives you a kind of freedom and from a Chinese Medicine perspective, it means you are living slow enough not to waste and use up all of your Jing, making the themes of rest and retreat so important for the month of January.
What is Jing? Jing is part of what is known as the three treasures in Chinese medicine. We have Qi, which is our life-force that interacts with the universe all around us, Shen, which links to our spirit and is seen in the eyes, and Jing, which roots us to the earth. Our Jing is seen as the sum of all our ancestral gifts, our constitution, our emotional and physical strengths and our tendencies and dispositions. You can also think of it like a battery. Each one of us will have a different-sized battery with varying amounts of energy. This battery cannot be recharged, rather we take from it throughout our lives and can boost it through lifestyle and food. And this is where the importance of resting and retreating comes in. Most of us use up too much Jing and then struggle with daily life and stressors. And most of us will have used up a lot by the end of the previous year. The most important thing to remember is how you use your Jing, what activities you decide to do and how you can complete your life’s work to live more aligned to your destiny. Doing nothing and having moments of boredom is important because this preserves our Jing.
I often look at people’s faces for signs of Jing and there are certain markers that indicate that you may have a lot, such as having bones that don’t break easily, lots of hair on the head and/or strong inflexible ears. Equally, certain lines on the face can indicate the usage of too much Jing:
However, even if you don’t have any of these markers, it is more important for you to learn how to conserve your battery and your Jing, as someone who has a lot may still use too much!
So how can you do more of nothing and preserve your Jing?
Doing nothing is hard for many people, especially as most of us are used to always being active, out socialising and on the go, but it is truly important to preserve our Jing to help us live a long and healthy life. Some of us may have to learn how to do this, but once you do, you will have more energy to take on those other tasks in life and cope with any challenges.
Astrologically, until the 18th of January, mercury will be in retrograde requiring the need to slow down and reflect, heightening the need for introspection.
If you are suffering from fatigue, feeling unmotivated, uninspired or struggling with your assimilation of food; both regular acupuncture and cosmetic facial acupuncture can help preserve your Jing and get you back to good health. Find an acupuncturist near you or get in touch for more if you would like to help resetting and balancing the body ready to re-emerge for spring.