Winter, a time of powering down and going within, is almost upon us. The softer sounds of winter beckon to us; the gentle swoosh of wind and snowfall (unless you live in a warm area – too bad, your loss), the crackle and crunch of snow under boots, or the quieter chirps of birds that don’t migrate (like our red cardinal, an eyecatcher resting on a snow-covered bush). It’s a great time for writers to hunker down and get their words on.
In Chinese medicine, “water is the element of Winter, the most Yin of seasons. It represents the completion of a cycle and the cleansing of previous cycles. Energies are stored deep within, as in the roots of plants and trunks of trees, as well as within ourselves. It is the time of year to be more introspective and less physically active.” (The 5-Element Guide to Healing with Whole Foods, 2016)
“Water… flows on and on, and merely fills up all the places through which it flows; it does not shrink from any dangerous spot, not from any plunge, and nothing can make it lose its own essential nature. It remains true to itself under all conditions.
– Nei Jing (475-221 B.C.)
My advice? Be like water, fellow writers. Remain true to yourself and your stories; do not lose your essential nature and write your stories from a place of unwavering candor.
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
– Bruce Lee, martial artist
To keep our writing skills sharp and be more like water, we need to take care of our mind/body/spirit connection during this most Yin of seasons:
“Winter is the season of the Kidney/ Urinary Bladder organ system, where our root energies lie. Bitter and salty foods are contracting and inward/downward moving, which help us store our energies and keep us centered.
Salty foods strengthen Kidney but too much actual salt can weaken it. Include miso, soy products, seaweed, seafood, millet, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, celery seeds, and barley in your diet. Bitter foods include parsnips, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips/rutabagas, celery, alfalfa, rye, quinoa, chicory root, and burdock root.
Roasted chicory root blended with other roasted herbs makes a nice substitute for coffee, which depletes Kidney Essence with its caffeine content. One-pot meals like slow-cooked soups and stews are your best choices, and you can add in both salty and bitter foods to create a healthy, nutrient-dense meal.” (The 5-Element Guide to Healing with Whole Foods, 2016)
The characteristics of a healthy Water element (which is within each of us, to a varying degree) will help you get through the winter months and any writing challenges that might come your way. Water element likes a calm, unrushed environment; it allows us to better communicate (like through our stories) and to influence others (like through our stories). If your Water element needs a boost, wear black, dark blue, or dark purple (violet).
If you feel ‘stuck’ or have writer’s block, envision water: flowing, smooth, soft. When we are rooted in our Water element, our will is rooted and we’ll have a powerful source of intuition that can positively affect our writer’s imagination. There’s a deeper sense of knowing. Write without fear. Act on your inner faith as a writer. That is Water element in action.
Be like water, fellow scribes.
 This is the pre-natal Qi we get from our parents; a definitive amount is passed to each child and must be used sparingly to ensure a long and vital life. Lifestyle excesses (alcohol, sex, food, etc.) will use up Essence more quickly, which can speed up the aging process.
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