I will firstly caveat this whole post, by saying it really applies to those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, where the New Year celebrations fall in the middle of Winter – for all you gorgeous Aussies, Kiwis & Southern Hemisphere dwellers, I will get to you guys shortly…
So, why would I adamantly suggest that you shouldn’t make resolutions for the new year? After all, I am a coach & massively champion change & growth & positive movement forward in life, emotions & personal development… And I used to make New Year’s resolutions (that often failed in the first week of January!), so what changed?
Well, first & foremost, I’m also an acupuncturist who has lived a “Five Element Life” for the last decade, so I know the importance of honouring the seasons & living in alignment with the energy of the associated Element. It’s like living in sync with the phases of the moon, or being mindful of the different parts of your menstrual cycle & how varied the energy & emotions & actions can be. It is living out of rhythm of nature that creates more disharmony & dysfunction in our bodies, minds & emotions.
Winter is the season associated with the Water Element. My own Element is Water, so it is even more important for me to be mindful of what this Element needs; it is integral to my wellbeing. But it is important for ALL of us to honour Water, whatever our own Element personality type is – even nature slows down during Winter, everything retracts inwards and retreats under the ground, animals get cosy & rest & hibernate. Winter is nature’s season of REST, preparing the roots & seeds below the ground, for the energetic growing time of the following Spring. There is very little ACTION at this time.
This time is for:
+ reflection, like the still, peaceful lake that you can see your face in
+ diving deep into your emotions, like you would in to the depths of the sea
+ pausing, being still – like the animals hibernating during Winter
+ ask the questions, gather the wisdom – the Water Element is renowned for its ability to do this
+ plant the seeds, READY for growth when the Spring arrives – the BIG POTENTIAL is in the seeds hidden underground in Winter
Spring is really the start of the New Year in Chinese Medicine, it is when we have the RIGHT & APPROPRIATE energy to tackle New Year’s resolutions, change things in our lives, start new things, take action. In January, in the Northern Hemisphere, we are still in the depths of Winter, that is hibernation time, time to be still, time to reflect. The ENERGY of the season just does not match New Year’s resolutions or big bold new beginnings. It is not the time to be planning and doing, we need to wait until Spring for THAT kind of energy to rush in!
So yes, do your journalling NOW, do take time to be STILL, to pause, to reflect; get the vibes you want to take over in to the new year, identify the feelings you wish to have, & plant the seeds, set the scene READY for 2017, but now is NOT the time to ACT, or expect yourself to DO heaps of things as soon as the clock strikes midnight & we tip over in to the new year… Water & Winter are about BEING, waiting for the potential to blossom into Spring!
Possible questions to reflect upon:
+ what amazing things can I celebrate from 2016?
+ were there things that didn’t go according to plan in 2016?
+ what could I have done differently in 2016?
+ how do I want 2017 to FEEL?
+ what word(s) will set the scene for 2017?
+ does 2017 have a different colour / logo / mascot to 2016?
+ who do I need to be next year to make 2017 amazing?
And this blog post isn’t intended to be about MY reflections of 2016, it is supposed to be encouraging YOU to pause & reflect, though there has been some pretty cool stuff for me this year:
+ ran my in-person Spring Health workshop, here in the UK, it was super fun
+ featured in publications including The Guardian, Healthy Magazine, Woman’s Weekly (twice), Women’s Health (three times), Woman & Home
You can learn more about the Water Element & how to live in alignment with the season of Winter in my brand new online course, Winter Wellness Wisdom, for physical & emotional wellness HERE, plus the Spring version will be hot on it’s heals in a couple of months, with exercises designed to REALLY get you going & moving forward with resolutions! So put any BIG actions on hold until then if you can…
As for you Southern Hemisphere dwellers, you guys CAN afford to be more ACTIVE in your intention setting, as you are currently in the season of Summer, with it’s associated Element of Fire. It has busy, upwards & outwards Yang energy – if you choose to make plans & implement them as soon as 2017 starts, you WILL be more aligned with what the season is doing. Therefore you are more likely to make plans stick & be successful in your resolutions, as the energy of the time is supporting you in your endeavours!
And if you don’t know what Element you are yet, you can download my FREE ebook here: https://goo.gl/NTmEF9
Wishing you all a VERY Happy & Healthy New Year, wherever you are in the world – I’m grateful you’re here with me!
This is the third + final video from the salty-hair-no-make-up-coconut-palm-trees series of videos I filmed for you whilst writing my book about the Five Elements on a tropical island in the Maldives… Complete with a hibiscus flower in my hair…
Knowing your Element is a REALLY GOOD thing, but it doesn’t give you an excuse to hide behind it, or play up to that Element’s reputation… it certainly does not give you carte blanche to act out or act like an arsehole JUST because you are a certain Element & “that’s how they act”… Watch this video to understand if your Element is running the show + whether it will hinder your life, or improve your life…
Originally this video’s title had arsehole in it because I was writing about the Wood Element + felt all punchy + assertive, but I chickened out of saying it in the video because I knew other people were listening to me from their next-door balconies!! Also had to edit out a plane flying over the island – may share the outtake at some point, it was pretty funny, + pretty loud!!
If you haven’t downloaded the FREE ebook + seen which Element you might be, get it here: https://goo.gl/NTmEF9
And if you want to be first to know about the real hold-it-in-your-hands book, when it comes out, sign up here: http://eepurl.com/cmkCRf
Or if you want to spend 5 days in Cornwall (on a totally different beach!) with me May 2017 learning about all of this, take advantage of payment plan available until end of November here: https://goo.gl/Z4NmJ1
This post was first published as a guest post on Aussie health blog This Is Lifeblood – it is most definitely Winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, that cold, still, watery, dark Yin time. I often write about the Water Element, as Water is my constitutional element (or CF), but Winter is the season of the Water Element, and it is important to connect in with this energy now, at its most potent, whatever your own Element is.
1. Slow Down & Think Hibernation
The quickest way to connect with the Water Element at any time of the year, but particularly as we move into Water’s season of Winter, is to slow down! Many of us will have been super busy and outwardly sociable during the Summer, with lots of outdoor gatherings with family and friends. Winter is about stillness, coolness, darkness, hibernation – think about what nature is doing at the moment, everything is retracting inwards, seeds of potential are underneath the ground, barely a bud or leaf above soil, and animals are retreating to warm safe spaces. The Water Element will respond beautifully to increased rest in warm safe spaces! Up your commitment to quiet self-care, scale back your social commitments, and keep the Kidneys warm – no crop tops or showing your midriff! Just remember, the energy you conserve during the Winter, becomes the pot of Qi you have for the following Summer – it’s well worth topping yourself up now!
2. Activate the Water Element Taste
Each of the Five Elements has a “taste” associated with it. Fire is bitter, Earth is sweet, Metal is pungent, Wood is sour, and Water is salty. Salt is a hot topic in health circles, and many people avoid salt at all costs. Processed table salt is not advisable, especially if you have high blood pressure, but in Chinese Medicine, we know that the Water Element and its associated organ, the Kidneys, actually NEED some salt to be supported and function correctly. Add a touch more sea salt or pink himalayan salt to your Winter cooking, or opt for something naturally salty like miso – it is warm, sweet and salty in terms of Chinese Food Energetics. It goes straight to the Water Element organ of the Kidneys, helping to activate their function of fluid control within the body.
3. Warm the Qi with Food Energetics
As seen above, we can affect the balance in our bodies with that we eat. During Winter we need to reduce raw and cold food intake, cutting down on salads and turning to physically warm dishes like soups, stews and risottos. Apart from being warming, they also have a very “watery” aspect to them, which automatically connects in to the Water Element. Adding energetically hot spices like garlic, cayenne, chilli, ginger, or cinnamon is important in Winter as the temperatures drop down. But note, if you have a tendency to run towards being a hot person, go easy with those very heating spices, even in Winter – nourishing your Yin with rest, and gently warming with thyme, sage or rosemary should be a good balance for you.
4. Reign in the Fear & Ramp up the Reassurance
The emotion associated with the Water Element is Fear (or conversely, complete lack of it!). This element is all about risk assessing and then reassuring. In Winter, my fear tends to crank up a few notches, as the weather gets worse with snow and ice in the UK – it is riskier to travel, there is more disruption, more uncertainty, and my Water Element has a bit of a wobble! It might not be about the weather, but notice if fear is creeping in and holding you back, this exercise may help you reign in the fear. Write down the issue you are fearful about. Then divide the page in two, with a line down the centre. On the left, write down everything you can think of that is the “worst case scenario”, what you are afraid will happen, what could go wrong, what is stopping you. Once you have really connected into the fear of that column, and exhausted all the potential options (remember, the Water Element WILL find ALL the possible risks, so to harness the positive side of this power, you need to do the same!), turn to the right hand column. You may find it helpful to switch seats or go into a different room for the right hand column – be in a different energetic space!
For each of the risks or fears you wrote down on the left, write down ONE thing that you COULD do, if indeed the worst thing were to happen. For example, it could be the idea of moving to another city is too scary for you, despite your heart knowing it is what you want to do. So in the left column you might write, “I could move away and then not have enough money to support myself”; then in the right column, one thing you COULD do if that were to happen would be “I could find a flatmate”, or “I could move back home with my folks”, or “I could be creative with coming up with new revenue streams”… whatever feels congruent and true to you – this is not a BS exercise, else your Water Element will not feel reassured enough. It must feel as true as possible.
You should find that by connecting to the Water Elements resourcefulness in coming up with contingency plans, you can prove to yourself (and your Water) that even if the worst thing happened, you WILL be ok. Give it a try, it can be really liberating to write it all down and visually see if the bad thing happened, it really wouldn’t be such a big deal – and this is coming from a Water CF girl, who does the risk assessing thing constantly!!
5. Have Acupuncture!
And of course, having acupuncture will immediately connect us into the Water Element ready for Winter! There are specific points we call “horary points”, which have particular potency during their specific season. Don’t forget each of us has ALL of the Five Elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal & Water – within us, we just tend to have ONE of the Elements that we resonate most with, or is like our default setting… (read more in my FREE ebook to see what Element you might be!)… So although this post is particularly relevant to those Water CFs (constitutional factors or constitutional Elements) amongst us, we can ALL benefit from connecting in with the Water Element in Winter.
I just found the following in my travel journal, and wanted to share – kind of a #latergram for the blog world… have altered ever so slightly from its original version to make is appropriate for this space. Enjoy! R x
I’m sat in Heathrow Airport waiting for my flight to Singapore, which will eventually lead me to Brisbane, Australia. I got here super early as my Water needed to be at the airport – all risks of missing the flight, getting stuck in traffic, rushing, rising panic, eliminated by arriving early… that’s what Water is about, assessing and eliminating risk. So, with this in mind, you won’t be surprised that I am NOT a good flier… this means ANY flight is super frightening, and even contemplating (let alone booking!) a 24 hour flight to the other side of the world sets off the alarm bells on the “risk assessor”, big time! So this trip is a pretty BIG deal.
Why am I even thinking about it then?! Well, if you had treatment with me in clinic during 2012, chances are you know it was an incredibly challenging time health wise for me – repeated bouts of tonsillitis, then a severe unknown virus that affected my liver and kidneys, leaving me with chronic adrenal fatigue. And although I am TONS better, I still get some relapses of fatigue. The Christmas break had a couple, and heading in to 2013 I saw the potential for more episodes… with all the reflection and taking stock that comes with the arrival of a new year, I wanted 2013 to be about POSITIVE health, and to bring some new INSPIRATION, products, opportunities and services to my practice. I really want 2013 to be DIFFERENT to last year. I didn’t know how to make it different… so I went to the complete OPPOSITE end of the spectrum in terms of my comfort zone. And as Thomas Jefferson said, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done”… and I have certainly never done anything as big, SCARY or crazy as this!
This place [Heathrow] is so busy, the energy is crazy – busy, nervous, jittery, exhausting, tearful – waaay too much for a Water Element who is already scared, nervous and jittery. I am having to remind myself of the STILLNESS that is a virtue of the Water Element – see, we do have a positive flip side to all that scary fear! Sitting in a corner, quietly listening to meditations on my ipod is the only thing keeping my nerves at bay. I see some children. They are tired, scared, overwhelmed, and not being understood by their parents – behind the tears is fear. I empathise hugely. I feel just like them.
I am tired, but hopefully that will (for once in this chronic adrenal fatigue journey) go in my favour as I board a night flight. I am scared about the flight, scared of being trapped onboard, scared of freaking out, scared about vomiting for 24 hours, scared of not being able to sleep, scared of horrendous jet lag, scared the trip will make my chronic fatigue worse, scared I will spend the whole time in Australia in bed, even scared that I will love it so much out there I won’t want to come home – yeah, a whole BIG BUCKET of scared.
But I know I HAVE to do this. The importance of this trip is MASSIVE. Things in my life need to CHANGE, and as Tony Robbins says, “By changing nothing, nothing changes…” So yeah, I’m changing it up. Changing it up in the BIGGEST way possible. And I have NO idea what is ahead.
Today is the start of the Chinese New Year – the perfect time to renew your resolve for those resolutions that you made on January 1st, which are already slipping… or a great time to remind yourself of the themes you wanted 2013 to have. My themes for the new year were LOVE, goodness, gratitude and MAGIC! These are things I have come to realise are part of the TRUE essence of me – through three months of fabulous work with the gorgeous Connie, in her 90 Day Transformation Group. These themes are hugely important to me and the way in which I intend to live my life – read on to see why getting clear on your truth really is the ONLY way to go in 2013, and the Water Snake will help you do just that!
I wrote this time last year about the Water Dragon and its focus on engagements, weddings, family, good honest people, and cultivating smart, healthy children – and boy, was last year a bumper year for patient pregnancies and new arrivals! Plus many beautiful friends getting engaged, and set for wonderful weddings this year! Amazing! So what does this new energetic year have in store for us?
The Snake is indeed more subtle than the shiny, sparkly, colourful Dragon of last year, but it can still have a BIG impact. It is a great time for starting again, or starting over – beginning a new life! You can’t get much bigger than that! It can be like hitting the “reset button”, so if like me, last year was more challenging than championing for you, this is THE time when we can change our fortunes – be it in health, wealth, career or romance! It is the ultimate shedding of the Snake’s skin. We can let go of things we no longer need, the energy is TRANSFORMATIONAL, we can emerge anew, a different version of ourselves!
Snakes sense everything, they pick up the tiniest changes in their surrounding environment on the tips of their tongues; in the context of 2013, the snake energy is about seeking out TRUTH, having new ideas, listening to your INTUITION, making time for REFLECTION, introspection and deep thinking. Combined with the Water energy, where feelings and emotions are just as important as knowledge, it is a great time to really uncover what it is YOU are here to do – what do you LOVE to do? What ideas have you been carrying round, but not actioning? What is your GUT telling you? What job or lifestyle would suit you and your energy better? Are you getting what you NEED from your relationship? Are there things that need CHANGING? What old patterns or behaviours do you need to LET GO of?This is the year you can get REALLY CLEAR on this, and take those first steps along your true path! First stop, transformation town!
And as with last year, we can once again see the qualities of Water coming to the fore – wisdom and seeking knowledge. This year will be another one in which to focus on intellectual pursuits, so if you have been thinking of signing up for that course, or heading back to study, GO FOR IT, the universal energies are in your favour! But just make sure you pay attention to the DETAILS, this is key for the Snake – if you don’t, you may well end up on the wrong end of the forked tongue!
According to the Water Snake, it is also a perfect year for travel, networking, branching out, making new friendships and relationships – good job I’m off to Australia in a few weeks to do EXACTLY that then, isn’t it?! (blog post coming on that subject shortly!) It may be a HUGE challenge for me, but I am EMBRACING one of the mantras of the Water Snake – “do not let your fears stop you from reaching your full potential” – MY GOODNESS, what a Water Element sentiment! Fear, drive, fulfilling potential / destiny… kinda all ties in nicely doesn’t it, me being a Water CF!
Happy Chinese New Year to you and yours – may it be a POSITIVE year for you!