Spring: Embrace the Power of New Beginnings
Summer: Create Abundance
Late Summer: Gain Rootedness
Autumn: Find the Justice of Letting Go
Winter: Dream of Quietude
We are not living "with nature." We are part of it. This connection flows through all that we are and do. Indeed, many answers you seek toward improving your life are found in your ability to understand and harness the ebb and flow of this relationship.
Nature, however, has made it big for us -- so that we can't miss seeing it. All you have to do is pay attention to her greatest manifestation of this connectivity as demonstrated in the continuous cycle of seasons.
Rooted in Eastern and Western psychology and Asian medicine, the concept of living with the seasons is an effective code for optimizing your life. It is one of the easiest, safest, most natural (no side effects) ways to improve your health, happiness and overall performance. It's fun. It's effective. And it's free.
So What Season Are You?
Many people have a favorite season. Some individuals go so far as to describe themselves as a "summer person" or "winter person" and so on. Your preference usually has a lot to do with your unique character, favorite activities and overall temperament.
But is there more to glean from such environmental sensitivity? For example, can getting better synchronized with seasonal cycles offer alternative, non-chemical treatments for improving or reversing certain health conditions? Could it engender more meaning and deeper satisfaction in one's life?
Which Season Is Best?
Although we may prefer one season over another, realistically no one season is "better" than the others. According to Asian medicine, each season has its own unique energy and each energy cycle plays a strategic role in everything from how you feel -- overall -- to how you accomplish day-to-day objectives and deeper life goals.
The important thing is you can learn to listen to how nature's seasonal cycles affect you. You can learn to draw on them and coordinate their specific energies so that you operate optimally in all your daily activities. The process is more than poetic. This synchronicity will lead to improved decision making, alertness, memory, conflict resolution, an increase in relaxation and physical strength, and all around healthier more creative living. Conversely, many problems you may be experiencing can be the result of imbalances with these energy cycles. The good news is you can learn to balance and eliminate these.
Because we are a part of nature and nature us, seasonal energy movements describe not only the rising and falling of energies in our external environment, but the up and down energy you feel minute by minute, event by event, conversation by conversation, thought by thought, throughout your day, week, month, year and so on. You can feel the effects of this momentum physically and emotionally. When you sync up just right (harmonize) with these cycles, you feel on top of your game.
The formula is simple: Ultimately, if you change the way you understand and use nature's energy you will change your life and contribute the best of you with everyone you touch.
The Fifth Season
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there are five seasons. Each season depicts a specific energy within nature. Spring, for example, begins nature's cycle of rising energy, for us a time of new growth, a time to seed and scatter ideas and life directions and see what among them takes root. Summer maximizes this cycle of upward fiery energy and seeing -- with clarity -- what is growing and what isn't. Autumn begins the cycle of falling energy. It is a time of abundance and gathering and letting go. Winter continues nature's falling cycle. It is a time of condensing and storing energy and of incredible inwardness, creativity and assembly. This is the time to pack your dreams into little bundles you will seed into your future come spring.
The additional season, the fifth season, however, is what is referred to as late (or Indian) summer. This is the period of unusually warm days that can come anytime from the end of summer to around the middle of autumn and even later. In TCM and holistic arts, this season (and its unique energy) is the center of the entire cycle. Coordinating all the other seasons or energy movements so that they make sense -- in your life -- this season is your headquarters. In TCM, centeredness and balance are essential. This is because when you are centered you are most self-aware; you attract thoughts, behaviors, and activities that are for your most good as well as for others. So this energy cycle helps you cool off negative aggressions, yet at the same time, fire up positive ones, prune what is not pulling its weight in your life, discover and nurture what is. You see who you have been, who you are and who you want to be. It is from here, within its middle cycle that nature, and thus you, can coordinate and harmonize the rest. The trick is in learning how to sync up and stay connected.
The Promise of the Five Seasons
With practice, you can learn how to use your most lovely visceral experiences in and with nature (individually or with friends or family) to train your brain into its most optimum performing mindset -- so it is flowing, relaxed yet highly alert. Most people see positive results in two to three weeks.
One individual recently wrote me to tell me that her 19-year-old daughter, practicing one of the exercises in this book, recently went to bed without the pain of headaches for the first time in over a decade.
It brings me great joy to help make these powerful life skills more public. Remember, change the way you understand and use nature's energy and you will change your life. Why wait? You can start today.
Observe nature. Enjoy a wide range of summer elements like rain, the lavish greenness, the plethora of flowers, the water, breeze and wind. Experience the coolness of morning, heat of midday, and coolness of night. Ingrain these in your mind. Listen to the night creatures and their unique sounds. You can listen to them one at a time or collectively as if they were orchestrated. You may like to listen to the birds at night singing their young a lullaby or sending their messages out through the environment. Morning is another good time to listen. You may like to watch birds soar or the loan butterfly fluttering in the brightness of the sky. Make time to experience this, especially in quietude. You will be surprised how many ideas and solutions come to you without stress when you become still. Let nature refresh you. Reboot often. Enjoy!
Note: For a more complete exploration of natural, complementary methods to enhance physical and mental performance year round see my newest book, The Five Seasons: Tap Into Nature's Secrets For Health (New Page Books, June 2013).
For more by Joseph Cardillo, Ph.D., click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.