Welcome, winter! As in the name of our practice (Elemental Family), there are 5 Elements in Chinese medicine that govern both our external, natural world as well as our internal states of wellness and dis-ease. Out of the 5 Elements (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood) the winter season is associated with the Water Element.
Water is the most meditative of the 5 Elements. Water represents your introspective and imaginative nature. Intellectual and philosophical, Water types are prone to deeply considered thought and curiosity about the mysteries of life. Similar to a frozen lake in winter, Water types can appear subdued and a bit aloof, but there is a whole lot of activity going on just under the surface.
Here at Elemental Family, we are all about helping our clients cultivate the precious tools of mindfulness, awareness, and compassion for both self and others. This is truly the best time of year to begin a mindfulness practice (daily, weekly, or otherwise) since we are on the cusp of Winter, which is the season of Water – a time of quietude, reflection, and contemplation.
Water types are old souls from birth. With a deep, sage-like quality, they take in the world around them at their own pace, developing on their own schedule. Water types are the most introverted of the five elemental archetypes. They are deep, philosophical thinkers and ponderers of existential questions. They can be stubborn and headstrong but it is generally in the service of wanting to fully understand something. Eccentric and creative, precocious and strong-willed, Water types are philosophers who dance to the beat of their own drum.
Water types can easily get lost in their own imagination to the point of total immersion, tuning out the outside world to an impressive degree. When stressed, however, Water types will withdraw even further into their shell, and can struggle with depression, hypochondria, and finding connection with others.
The Water Element is associated with the Kidney organ network in Chinese medicine and governs the physical realms of fertility and reproduction, brain and bone health, as well as the rate and gracefulness of the aging process. Fear is the primary emotional expression of Water, and wisdom is the accumulated experiential knowledge of a well-honed Water Element.
One of the best ways to cultivate and enrich your Water Element is to incorporate a meditation practice into your life. Mindfulness meditation is a particular type of meditation practice that involves learning how to simply BE in the present moment, with awareness, an open and receptive attitude, and a non-judgmental, compassionate heart. Simple yet incredibly profound, these concepts can be challenging to incorporate into daily life, which is exactly why this is called a practice.
So, you might be wondering what the point is exactly, and why you should invest the time to meditate at all? Sitting quietly in meditation grants you access to all of the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that come along with being embodied and alive. This is not always a comfortable experience, taking a closer look at our own minds and habits and natures, but I promise you that it is beyond worthwhile.
Meditation shares many benefits with another modality that is familiar to readers of this blog: acupuncture. Meditation and acupuncture both provide a unique gateway to peace, calm, and de-stressing on a profound level. They are both proven to relieve pain, anxiety and depression, lower high blood pressure, and significantly modulate stress levels for the better.
Both meditation and acupuncture are quieting yet activating experiences. This state of settled activation is one sign of an integrated and balanced nervous system. From this place of integration, you gain the clarity in your life to respond versus react to challenging situations, to be truly present in your relationships with others and yourself, and to appreciate each moment simply for what it is.
I invite you to explore your Water-y, meditative nature this season – through the avenues of meditation and acupuncture. I certainly will be, and I would love for you to reap the benefits of these healing practices as well. Elemental Family, Center for the Healing Arts is here to serve all of your family’s wellness needs this winter. As far as getting started with meditating, please check out the following resources and see what resonates with you.
1) InsightLA – A fantastic resource here in Los Angeles for learning to meditate in supportive group classes, as well an online resource for guided meditations (in the Audio section of their website) ~ www.insightla.org
2) Simply Being – My favorite app for simple and accessible guided meditations ~ www.meditationoasis.com
3) David Ji – A meditation guru who sends out new meditations each week to his free online community ~ www.davidji.com
4) Insight Timer – An app with a wealth of guided meditations and dharma talks for any level of meditator - there is truly something for everyone here, even kids! (my daughter falls asleep to Mary Maddox's Sleep Friend Meditation for Children almost every night) ~ https://insighttimer.com/