free_fall_leaves_shutterstock_61538884_webMost people like fall.  It is a transition from the dog days of  hot weather into  cooler months with pretty colors, but with it brings a dread of winter and colder weather to come.  However, I  appreciate winter and all that it has to bring.  My appreciation for winter comes from Chinese Medicine Philosophy which looks at all seasons as necessary stages of life.

In Chinese Medicine there is the Five Elements or Five Transitions.  Each element has an associated season and an associated organ.  Within these transitions there are also emotions.

The stages start with water which is the source of all life, and is associated with winter.   As the snow covers the frozen earth below the world is dormant and still.  As spring approaches the energy shifts from dormancy to animation.  The snow(water) has melted and has nourished the ground below and the buds start to spring up.  This is the growing stage of life.  Then summer comes when life is at it’s fullest.  All the trees and life are at their peak.  Between summer and fall is the earth cycle when everything that came before is now ripening.  Now the energy begins to shift to fall and back into dormancy.  The trees and plants fall back to the ground to nourish and give life back to the  soil.  Then winter comes again.5-elements

This might sound like a depressing Robert Frost poem,  but in this cycle is a beautiful approach to looking at how we relate to this world.   This cycle can apply to the creation of the universe and us.  The winter is in utero, when we are being nourished by our mothers, spring is birth and childhood, summer is adolescence to early adulthood when we come into ourselves.  Earth is a stage of summer when we have all the things we have acquired from the previous stages and use it through adulthood; fall we start to retreat within ourselves and reflect on our lives, and winter is old age where we enjoy and reflect on our life (hopefully)

Fall and winter might  sound depressing, with all that old age and reflection but these are our most cherished and favorite months.  Sure the days become shorter, and we  have to spend more time inside.  However fall and winter are also associated with our roots or our family.  Just as winter is associated with us  in the womb being nourished by our mother, it is the time we hibernate indoors with those closest to us.  Our most celebrated holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year are during these months.   And with Chinese Medicine there are associated foods with each season, and this is the season to eat.  As a bear hibernates and stores up fat during the winter, this is also the time for us to be doing the same (because you’re going to to need that stored up energy for spring and summer.)

So, I really look at fall and winter as a time for us to reflect, rejuvenate and rest, and spend time with our loved ones and family.  Hope this gives you a new perspective on the winter months and have a blessed holiday season!