Today, many people in the world observe various seasonal celebrations during the month of December. On the other end, in our busy world, we have forgotten to honor the cycles of nature, and our celebrations have become less about meaning and more about material concerns –creating holidays that can be both stressful and laden with unrealistic expectations.
Whether or not you follow a traditional religious observance such as Christmas, Hanukkah, or Winter Solstice, this time of the year has close ties with the laws and cycles of our solar and planetary system. We human beings are intrinsically interconnected with the Earth; we are an integral part of solar and planetary activity that affects us in visible or invisible ways. Heaven and Earth touch every aspect of our life.
The winter cycle is upon us now. On December 21 at 7.30 pm HST marks the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The sun begins anew its journey toward longer day of new growth and renewal. Celebrating the natural rhythm of life can help us feel more connected to the wisdom of nature, to Mother Earth, and to our ancestors. As nature retreats back to herself in winter, we too can find some quiet restful and reflecting time and perhaps surrender to our own inner light that guides us through the dark times like a beacon to remind us what is important.
I personally enjoy and celebrate seasonal natural cycles of life such as Winter Solstice. In ancient cultures Winter Solstice was a time of great celebration, for it meant the turning point of winter and the eventual return of spring. It is a time of balance and change. This celebration has been associated with the return of the Sun, hope, rebirth, renewal of the spirit, and the victory of the light over the darkness.
Reminders of how to Stay Healthy in the Holidays
Taking a holistic approach to caring for yourself this holiday season and throughout the year can really make a difference in your physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.
Love yourself: Identify what is important to you. Keep reminding yourself of it when facing a challenging situation. Develop or commit to a practice that connects you with the sense of “feeling good”, a place of refuge that can sustain you through hard times. Winter time is an excellent time to travel within, to nourish yourself, to reflect on the qualities of being you want to grow into, and a time to birth your dreams.
Deeper Connections: The holidays give many of us an opportunity to reconnect with loved ones, old friends, and community. It can give us the opportunity to deepen the sacred relationship with Mother Earth, and to bring meaning through understanding.
Take the focus off food: Instead of an indoor party with platters of treats, host an outdoor activity. Eat light, fruits and vegetables of the season. Eat warm and healthy, local food before you go to parties.
Get plenty of physical activity: When your schedule gets hectic, get creative. Jump rope during TV commercials, dance in the kitchen or take a brisk walk. Yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong are also great stress relievers.
Get quality rest: In acupuncture theory during the winter months, we should be getting more sleep than the rest of the year. Our bodies are meant to change with the seasons as Winter brings fewer hours of sunlight so we adapt accordingly.
Acupuncture treatments: Acupuncture significantly boosts your body’s immune system to help protect you against any potential foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria and fungi. Acupuncture is also very effective in relieving stress. Frequent hand washing also helps to keep microbes away.
Patent herbal formulas: Are very effective in treating many types of cold and flu. Yin Qiao San is excellent for predominantly sore throat and early sniffles. Use this formula only for a few days. Gan Mao Ling tablets with symptoms of chills, fever, swollen glands, and stiffness of upper back and neck. Take also Vitamin C and Zinc to boost the immune.
The shared message of Christmas, the Solstice festivals, and Hanukkah, speak of a time to have good friends around, to do acts of simple kindness, share food and warmth, and tell stories around the fire. It is also a time of the year to prepare ourselves to surrender our inner shadows to the womb of winter, and be renewed by the seeds of Light that burn deep inside of us.
The common spirit of the Holy Days is the spirit of the heart, the love, the light that warms the heart and the soul, and allows us to soften, to transform and create new changes in our self, in our life and in our world.
Whatever tradition you chose to celebrate, may your holidays be filled with Light, Joy and Laughter in this most auspicious transformational journey that we call life.