As we find joy this holiday season surrounded by the warmth of our loved ones, let’s also send out that energy to all those who aren’t as fortunate and privileged as we are! This year has not been without its challenges but we can ‘blame’ it on the year of the Fire Monkey. Since the dark winter solstice is now behind us, days start to become longer and we can start looking ahead with slightly more optimism.
Nature is a reflection of our own bodies. As the energy and growth of the warm months fall away in Autumn, Winter is a time when everything returns to the earth to quietly nourish it. As for us, this colder season is a time for us to slow down and let go of our accumulated energies experienced through the past two seasons so that we can rest and restore our bodies and spirits. We celebrate, sharing warm nourishing food with those closest to us, acknowledging the efforts we made and the people we love. It’s also a good time to turn inward to reflect, pause and feel gratitude for all we have in our lives.
Winter is the perfect time to tonify the kidneys. Resting our bodies, relaxing the mind and eating foods that are in season are beneficial. Soups such as bone broths, dark colored foods such as beans and sea vegetables, and whole grains such as wild rice can strengthen this fundamental organ. The Kidneys are not only responsible for regulating urination, they also govern memory, metabolism, reproduction, development and longevity. Kidney energy is known to store our deepest essence which can determine our health, life span and aging process. Through meditation, Qi Gong and yoga and eating certain tonic foods high in essential fatty acids can enhance this energy. Stress, worry, overworking and too much sugar can deplete it.
Let us not forget about all the things that give us joy and continue to practice peace in our own lives. By acting locally, supporting organizations which are inclusive and compassionate, there is hope the energy we create will manifest nationally and globally. Reaching out and creating community in our lives, no matter what holiday we are celebrating can help us feel more able to move forward in these times. Love always prevails. Happy Holidays!
Marti Lee Kennedy L.Ac., O.M.D.
Marti Lee Kennedy, director of The Ashby Center of Complementary Medicine in Berkeley, CA, is a pioneer in the practice of Chinese Medicine in the United States.