The darkness grows upon us as the cold calls us to stay close to ourselves- to be intimate with the interiority rather than the conditioned constancy of external doing. Quietude falls all around beckoning the heart song to fill the empty auditorium of our dreams.
Our dreams empty of their song when we ignore the all-knowing voice within the heart. The one who whispers direction to the places where we “know we can be in better relationship” to ourselves, with our close people, with our communities and our beloved EARTH. The darkness ensues as attack rather than invitation to reflect what nature is gifting at this and all times- when we continue to ignore our heart and thus shut down the real conversations within and around us.
The land is bereft of its beauty- but is it? Or, does the barren landscape invite us to dream of color, of life and of new beginnings? Can we not see beauty through the lens and always present hope of the loving heart rather than the conditioned eye. Can we allow ourselves to see into the open spaces as a blank canvas of possibility rather than projecting loss and emptiness?.
We are also stripped of our own vibrancy as the aloof sun meets the rose in our cheeks a little less. To feel into the urge to color over what is exposed and vulnerable within ourselves- and do nothing- is an invitation into understanding what those parts need.
If we can mimic the bravery, the surrender and nakedness of nature in the dark and the storms we will find a resilience under the coldness of our own Winter’s flesh. If we resist and deny what is being asked of us at this time then the darkness will gift you with what may resort to awaken you through illness, emotional instability and feelings of loss.
There is no accident in the uptick in viruses and depression at this time. They are a direct call back to awareness of how we have lost our connection with the rhythms of all things- with support and rituals and practices that honor transitions and thus keep a little hearth fire glowing in the heart. Illness of mind and body most directly takes you to an edge where you dream of healing and reconnection to a vital force within you.
The question in the face of dis-ease and depression is then, not “how do I fix this” but “what is this disconnection from vitality trying to tell me?”. AND- as you ask these brave questions of yourself- you do not need to suffer in the dark journey of self discovery and healing. There are ways, rituals and systems to light up your interior landscape in the dark…..
Illness and Immunity: In the Winter months we are packed together indoors where air is stagnant and viruses fester to feast on your immune system. When our immune systems are running on high trying to keep up with our lives our emotional health will suffer. Like an over scheduled child- we get cranky as our bodies are forced to go against nature’s call to rest.
Immune modulating herbs and foods are essential at this time of year for prevention and stamina in the cold and dark. Immune stimulating herbs and foods are vital for the first onset of illness. There are many and not all work for all people and you should be well versed or talk with someone for more insight on how to heal at various stages of illness. However, in my daily life I incorporate immune boosting foods:
- Medicinal Mushrooms
- Mineral and protein rich broths
- Warming herbs and foods that are also great for digestion: Ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, rosemary, thyme- anti-inflammatory and anti- viral.
My basic daily anti-viral/bacterial hygiene: In the damp and cold our bodies tend to build more biofilms for critters like the cold and flu to live in. These biofilms collect in your mouth, your nasal cavity and your gut.
- Tongue scraping and herbal mouth rinse or oil pull- Buy a tongue scraper. Just do this for yourself as it’s so easy and quick. You don’t really want to know how much bacteria collects on your tongue. Oil pulling with a little bit of clove oil can be very powerful for pulling toxins out of your gums and also helping to drain the sinuses and clear mucus from your throat.
- Netty Pot: Most of us have heard of the netty pot. Daily this helps clear the dust and mites and other particles that gather in you nasal passages as you sleep at night.
- Hot bath/shower- cold rinse: I know a cold shower is a lot to ask (I personally crave the cold) but the fluctuation between the hot and then cold is amazing for moving your lymphatic system and giving your nervous system a reboot as well. The cold shower has to be at least 2 mins. You can do this- it won’t kill you but the flu virus might. (f you have a cold I don’t advise immersing your head in cold- just your body)
“Go out and blow the stink off ya”- This is what my Grandmother used to say to us as kids. As we hunker down inside more we lose resilience to the elements. I have always continued to walk, run and just be outside almost every day for at least an hour. Embrace the cold and wind and you will not be knocked over by every little thing that flies your way. And, even though the light is low in the sky, just getting out will help you to stay in touch with the light that is available to you.
The Dark Corners of the Mind: Depression and emotional illness are real and serious afflictions of many. The Winter illuminates our struggles and also where we don’t have any tools for this time. A daily practice is vital for your well-being. If you don’t know how to get started with a daily practice I invite you to reach out.
Sun lamps can be helpful but, I state again, nothing compares to a daily practice of connecting to the light of nature. Get out and immerse yourself in the winds of change.
Depression and darkness tend to create isolation. This is a time of being more quiet with one self but closing off to others is sabotage (I know as I am a master loner). You don’t need to go all out, but a weekly invite to a friend or friends to simply gather for soup and sacred witness that you are all in the dark of winter- together is so healing. Sing songs, play games, bake cookies- whatever. Just keep a little light and laughter with others and you will get through.
Ritual: Ritual is how we honor our lives by displaying to the unseen governing forces that we recognize we are a part of the whole of creation. Ritual heals separation from source. Ritual states that we believe, at our core, in something greater and are willing to explore that otherness. Ritual re awakens the inner child and imaginal realm that most of us have shut down. Ritual- hands down- has saved my life. There are many rituals that can bring you back into balance. Observation of the seasonal shifts and moon phases with a candle and prayer can be a simple yet very impactful start.
I would love to hear about what rituals reconnect and rebalance you. And- if you need guidance around any of the above I am available for holistic mentoring around mind-body-spirit. My teachers and mentors have transformed my life and it wasn’t so much the wisdom as it was the witness of my life and encouragement of my dream. Please leave comments below… Winter blessings to you.