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Welcome to your future, welcome peace in winter.

Well, it’s time for a restart. Welcome to the New Year and as my oldest son once said at the young age of four, “Welcome to your future.”

Whether you fantasize about time travel or would just like to travel back in time before the election, before the loss of Prince and Bowie, or just to reminisce about better days, perhaps we can commiserate as we move forward with a little grace. Finding peace has been a reminder for me, and a challenge, as I strive to look ahead and not behind.

We are now facing the dead of winter. Seasonal emotions of grief, fear or worry and a reduction in social behavior like introversion and seclusion may be more pronounced. According to Chinese medicine, there is a connection between our emotional, physical and spiritual health and the season and our external environment. I enjoy contemplating these connections. I’d like to share a few thoughts that comfort me and give me a sense of peace to move forward in times of change, whether in a new year or a new season.

The dog days of summer refer to the hottest and most uncomfortable days. These days are a time of stagnancy resulting in lack of progress. The dead of winter, by nature, is much the same. It is a time to move inward, to conserve energy and restore. As our daylight hours flee quickly, we are given little time to roar our yang fire energy. Instead, we are forced to be yin and consumed by the cold around us. We retreat, just as animals hibernate. But this is not a sign of weakness. This is moment to bring strength. This is our time to sit back, reevaluate what’s most important to us, and ponder what to grow this spring. As for myself, l will be planting seeds of love.

The yin energy is more feminine, together the dance of yin and yang is romantic. Health is achieved by balancing each to find harmony, thus nurturing a sense of peace. Finding peace in the midst of chaos, in the breath between engaging with reaction or contemplating a response is a tool to preserve sanity. It will also protect you from conflict. Speaking sharp is the skill of the heart, it can become challenging when harassed by heat. As an imbalance, it presents itself when we have difficulty forming words or using words as weapons, neglecting patience and understanding. The harassing fire will keep us up at night and further promote the cycle of stagnancy. My mom once said,”If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”, I wish Facebook had that rule.  I hope together, we can nurture kindness and acceptance in the new year.

Winter cultivates stillness, but is also represented by the element of water. Water is the tap from which ideas flow and a source of creative energy. This source energy is found with in our times of laziness or nothingness, when we truly give in to our downtime to revitalize. From the deepest abyss of water we will emerge into light. Through the eyes of children, we can see the future and from the wisdom of elders we can remember our roots. Take some time to find peace this winter.

An excerpt of this article was featured in The Bay View Compass, January 2017.