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suzana naturallifestyle 120A few weeks ago I was writing about how challenging it is to pledge allegiance to winter. And it sure has been. For weeks now, Nature has gifted us with snowy and icy sceneries, harsh winds, and dangerously cold temperatures. A glimpse of Daoist philosophy, Chinese medicine energetics and few practical tips might lead you to a different awareness when gazing in despair at the piles of snow and piercing icicles.

In ancient Chinese philosophy and medicine winter represents the Element of Water. 'Water is Mother of All Life' was written in Dao De Jing. Yielding by its form, Water has primordial potential for most powerful creations and most grave destructions. Pure potential (Jing-Essence) is always chaotic, but let's concentrate on the creative forces for now. So Jing-Essence represents our genetic code, constitutional energy, that defines us as a human beings.

The abeyant energy of the Water needs a spark of light for life to unfold. Even a microbe living at the bottom of the ocean depends on the sun for its life and sustenance. Sun is the ultimate embodiment of the Fire Element. Metaphorically, the Fire illuminates the potential of the Water by creating life in each human, as in all living beings (animals, plants and minerals). The moment-to-moment presence in life is reflected in steady beating of the heart. As the Water symbolizes Jing-Essence, the Shen- Spirit arises from the Fire. The Spirit resides in the Heart.

Fire is excessive. Heat in nature causes expansion, and untamed can scorch and parch the earth creating a barren dessert where life is a struggle. If sun doesn't shine for longer periods, cold, and dampness dominates the landscape. Constant polarity between Fire and Water symbolizes endless individual manifestations in the world.  Each life unfolds differently, following the same axis in unique ways.

In harmonized Fire-Water dynamics fertile mists ensure spiritual stability and power necessary for all aspects of life. The heart is in Chinese medical mapping called Emperor/Empress, and has four energetic channels which make sure that ruling is smooth and effortless. One is representative of unfolding Jing (Essence) to Shen (Spirit), another does everything to separate and sort out what nourishes the Heart from what could be damaging to the Emperor/Empress. Third one intimately protects the Heart, and forth is directly linked to the Heart. Quite a job to keep that Fire burning nice!

In the time we wait for a big melt to happen, predestined only by Mother Nature's action, we can reach into the handy Heart Apothecary that always abounds with nature's gifts to melt the Hearts if winter wonders threaten the integrity of our flickering flames. In winter we nourish Fire, in summer we care about Water.

Lemon Balm (Lat. Melissa officinalis) is primarily used to calm and relax the nervous system without a sedating effect. If you feel edgy and slightly depressed, tired of winter, yet longing for long restful sleep, a warm cup of lemon balm tea with a touch of honey might be a good choice. Lemon Balm has a high concentration of essential oils which have very effective antiviral properties. A regular cup of tea could efficiently fight and weaken cold and flu symptoms. The best thing about Melissa is its delightful flavor. Fresh and invigorating, it will calm you down but uplift your Heart.

Hawthorn Berries (Lat. Crategaus) are a very popular heart (cardiovascular) tonic these days in 'alternative' medicine circles. In Chinese herbal formulas they aid breakdown of meat proteins and are used as best meat tenderizers.  They can be jammed, tinctured or boiled in teas. If you feel sluggish and lethargic, but sensitive to nervine stimulants, hawthorn berries can be an excellent part of your winter regime. They are sweet tasting and have a nice red color to remind us of a warm summer day.

Sandalwood essential oil (Lat. Santalum album) is extracted from Sandalwood trees, native to East India. The divinely sweet aroma, a softly balsamic base-note, is sensual, yet deeply tranquil.  Sandalwood essential oil is the oil which in its fragrant aroma carries complex Water-Fire relationships. It is an excellent choice for meditation and quieting an overexcited heart.  Sandalwood deepens our connection with ourselves and others, especially when making love. It is also is great care for dry, mature skin.  Don't use any essential oil undiluted on your skin and always consult essential oil therapist or other professional about proper dilution.

Flowers are the ultimate representatives of the Fire Element. They are noticeable, fragrant, alluring, and mesmerizing. They have to be pompous seducers, the most sexual part of the plant, in order to survive and thrive. Most of us enjoy the delightful blossoming, symphony of colors and fragrances, which is a sweet reminder of our life's passions. A gloomy winter day can be colored by glancing at photos or paintings of flowers.  Quiet contemplation about a blossomy summer day can spike enthusiasm and evolvement in daily activities when we feel the "winter blues".

Rose Quartz is a blossoming gem in the mineral world.  Minerals are considered living beings in Chinese cosmogony and are a big part of Chinese Materia Medica (a medicine book). Gems and stones are the beautiful slow evolving souls of the Earth. They are mother of the Water Element and mostly have deep affinity with Essence- Jing. Rose Quartz with its transparent pinky color helps establish Fire –Water communication when placed at the center of the chest. It simply rocks!

Healthy intimacy with others is based on knowing what lies in our own heart. True intimacy is empowered by openness. When betrayals and heart pains take part in our lives it is very courageous and healing to be comfortable with our own wounds.  Let's be close and open to each other in all forms of communications: heartwarming conversation, laughing, hugging, kissing, making love, dancing, creating a ritual, or ceremony. Once when you are truly intimate with your own heart, you'll find partners for many ventures to celebrate life with.

P.S: Don't forget dark chocolate. The heart likes it.


Suzana Jelovecki, MS, Licensed Acupuncturist, is the owner of Roots and Branches Acupuncture and Nature Bound Woman
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