The Gravity of the Situation

The other morning, I looked up from my cocoa pot on the stove, saw the trees in their yellow, half-naked state and suddenly felt sad.  I moved to the kitchen table and sat down. This time of year, I find that sadness is a kind of background, a kind of lurking, not quite acknowledged sense of something.  I can’t always name a particular focus for this kind of sadness, but I know the feeling.

Sunlight and I

Lie motionless

Gravity moves my blood.

I like to orient myself to the cycles of the year, the seasons, the movement of light and dark.  It has always made an organic sense to me to orient to the larger world in this way. But the wisdom of this kind of orientation has a long history.  Some of the oldest writings on this topic come from the ancient texts on Chinese medicine. In these texts they say quite plainly that if one wishes to remain healthy, they would do well to align themselves with the seasons, to do as the world around them does in each season.

In this season, things are moving to ground.  Leaves are falling, light is diminishing. Things are preparing for stillness.  What are the ways we can prepare for stillness? How can we use the powerful energy of this season to support us?  Especially, now, this holiday season about to begin, it seems critical to keep contact with ways we can nurture this special kind of energy.  Our culture really doesn’t recognize these changes in the tempo and temperament of the year. We are still expected to work regular hours, carry on with social engagements and eat salad, despite the lack of light, the quiet, slowed-down energy and the cold.

As our days become shorter your body will probably want to sleep more, eat more, rest more and slow down.  Generally, your body will prefer warm well-cooked foods and warm drinks. You may feel less like going out after dark and prefer reading or quiet conversation to music venues or sports.  To support your sleep as the light changes, you can turn off overhead lights and refrain from computers, phones and T.V. screens after dark.

In a way, sadness makes it possible to let ourselves do all of these things.  When we feel sad, we naturally slow down. When we feel sad, we look for blankets, bathtubs and warm cocoa. Too often we reject sadness, refuse to come down from the spinning in our minds into the weight of our own bodies.  Sadness, however, can be how I touch reality, come home to my own knowing, get real with myself, see how things actually are rather than how I wish they were. Around me everything looks gray, yellow, melancholy even. And soft, at home, quiet. This is good.

The inspiration for this post’s title…

Josephine SpilkaComment