The transition between seasons can be beautiful, and challenging. In moments of transition, thoughts, feelings, speech and actions may be imbued with a creative renewal. Ideas and visions that inspire the need to do more and know more are highly palpable, and the permeability between the senses, and a sense of time, deepens.
As a practitioner of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, I am often at the frontline of transition. I have the privilege of meeting patients on the brim of seeking new solutions, whether that be diet, exercise, relationships, or self-care. What I witness most in the people that I work with is a recognition that the healing process can serve as a reminder of the precious experience that is their (and others) humanity.
In many ways, humans beings are like plants. Orienting from the earth, we require water, minerals and nutrients, sunlight, and time. These elements become all the more integral when challenges arise, and sustaining them can generate a sense of safety and calm. Leaning into resources that connect the human experience to earth ecology can provide the kind of comfort and coherence that is necessary to encourage a smooth, and holistic transition.
Over the last few years, I’ve tried to utilize a human-body/earth-body framework, in both my professional and personal life. This mindset has helped to alter the way that I think about change, especially during seasons of adjustment ― be it emotional, the loss of a loved one, or confronting the reality of climate change. I’d like to share a particular set of helpful ideas that I’ve been relying on, in addition to a few guiding practices to help you move through any seasonal transformation.
If you’ve ever taken a Yoga, Pilates or meditation class, you may have heard your instructor advise that you “feel our sitz bones” when in a upright seated position. The first time I heard the proper anatomical name for these bony protrusions, was during a Shiatsu course. The bones in reference are also called your “sitting bones”, or tuberosity of the ischium. Drawing your attention to this area, which is the base of your pelvic girdle, can provide subtle realignment of the spinal column. Alternatively, if you are able to stand, place both feet firmly on the ground, making sure whatever surface you’re on comes into contact with all four corners of your feet.
One of the most enjoyable parts about my job is that I get to talk about food! And not just preparation methods, or nutrient content. Chinese medicine takes nutrition a step further into the energetic, dare I say spiritual, quality contained within our food. In order to understand what is in the food we eat (proteins, carbohydrates, fats, etc.), it is important to understand the conditions that have helped to shape and develop its life, such as where and how it is grown. A great resource on this subject is Healing with Whole Foods, by Paul Pitchford. This is a seminal text that you’ll find in any Acupuncturists library. Sustainably-sourced meats and produce, and making sure to thoroughly cook your vegetables, are two solid ways to ensure the digestive system is able to integrate all the beneficial energetic qualities in the food you eat.
In a world with many distractions, it can be all too easy to lose focus. A universe of knowledge is readily available at our fingertips, which can be both amazing, and overwhelming. There are ways to dial back in, recenter the mind, and bring greater consciousness into focus. This could look like establishing a set of go-to rituals that help restore your spirit in times of uncertainty or confusion, or creating your own unique morning and evening ritual to help you establish consistent self-care throughout your day.
Holding space for yourself to feel and heal your way through transition is one of the best forms of self-care, and the process can take on whatever form you need it to. If you enjoy retreats, but are unable to afford the cost of one at the moment, we have a simple and free option for you with suggestions on ways to unplug from technology and reconnect to better self-care. Making time to reflect on the progress you’ve made can provide a helpful boost in confidence, whether that time is spent individually or in community with others.
Prioritizing self-care has been on the rise in the last 30 years, and is now recognized as essential in the management of chronic illness. Along with the influx of attention to this topic, there have been new opportunities made available, including access to services and research methodologies. As self-care becomes more standardized, it is important to maintain a personal definition and practice. Leaning into your own personal definition of wellness can help you flourish in new and exciting ways.
To support you through any seasonal transition, we have a free PDF with journal prompts, which includes a few of my personal favorite practices. Access the PDF HERE via Dropbox.
What are some of your go-to practices that help keep you encouraged through transitions?