Winter Meridians

Oude vrouw en jongen met kaarsen, Schilderij van Peter Paul Rubens

Winter is a period of closing, storing and regenerating. Nature withdraws deep inside the earth, the fluids pulled back into the roots. It’s the yang that crawls inside the yin. Like the unborn in the womb of his mother. It’s there, it’s very much alive, but you can’t see it. To bond with it you need to be still and quiet. ‘Calm is the rule of form, and silence the master of sound’, wrote Wen-Tzu (from the text ‘The Greatest Simplicity’). It’s the gift of winter.

In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) winter belongs to the Water element as part of the 5 Element Model. A model offering a framework for all the changes that take place in living nature, and so in us. Winter is thus not only the literal winter season, but it’s a metaphor of ‘winters’ in our everyday life. To grasp the meaning of the winter-element in your life you only have to look at nature:

Winter is the end of a cycle, and therefore the beginning of a new one. It’s holding past and future in between times. In our busy lives we don’t count these seemingly empty moments of nothingness, but we should. Here is where the magic happens. Although it can be frightening, because nothing is for sure. Winter is often also the moment we have to face our fears.

But, true to the yin-yang nature of all things, there is another side to fear, braveness. Winter is testing both our courage and fear firming our willpower. Deep inside, hidden from the judgmental eyes of others, this is the spark that will set everything in motion. The synergy of kidney yin-yang ki.

It’s the downward pull of winter that solidifies potential of nature and lights the spark of life. In our bodymind it’s no different, the downward pull of the kidney ki-energy anchors us and lets our spark burst into life.

We tend to think in opposites, good-bad, cold-warm, inwards-outwards. It offers clarity in a highly complex reality. But it also blinds us to the fluidity binding the opposites. The downwards pull is at the same time setting the stage for the upward push. If you very attentively walk, you can experience this for yourself. The gravitational pull down gives you the counterweight to push yourself upwards moving into your next step. ‘Winter’ times anchor us and give us the determination to move forward. It’s one ‘winter’-motion.

We don’t have to force it. Winter is not a time of enforcement, but a time of rest. It’ll come. Spring will knock on our door. Most of us live our lives as if it’s eternal springtime. Active and outgoing we focus on expressing ourselves and accomplish our goals. And there is great beauty in that. Just don’t forget the glow is provided by the ki-energy of the kidney ‘winter’meridian. If on a grey, rainy day you long for spring, remember thus the gift of winter time and make yourself at home.

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