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Our relationship with the forces of nature around us, particularly if we live in urban areas, can be compromised at best and in complete disarray at worst. But in Chinese Medicine the relationship with these forces, such as the seasons, is seen as fundamental to our health.

Richard Brook, Understanding Human Nature

Richard Brook, Understanding Human Nature

This is because each season impacts the body, mind and spirit differently but are all essential to our overall balance. In this way your body-mind is a mirror of nature in that each season is vital as a part of a balanced yearly cycle.

The dynamic relationship is that different pairs of organs (known as Elements) are stimulated during each season, which impact your thoughts, feelings and actions. When we flow with this, we stay healthy, fight against it and we become imbalanced.

For example, in Spring your Wood Element of Liver and Gall Bladder become stimulated which in turn stimulates your faculty of planning and decision making and the building of structure to help grow your life for the year ahead. Just like how trees grow new branches, so you internally find the growth of new ideas. Commit and assert them to provide the platform for growth later in the year!

In Summer, the Fire Element of Heart and Small Intestine become stimulated which provokes the desire to move out into the world and connect with others. The heat of the sun relaxes your Heart and enables you to drop layers, both of your clothing and socially. Think about BBQ’s, festivals, days out with friends, long fun summer evenings!

In Chinese Medicine we also identify an additional fifth season, in contrast to the conventional western model of 4 seasons, and that is Late Summer. Late Summer stimulates your Earth Element of Stomach and Spleen, so think sitting back and bearing the fruit of your growth earlier in the year and the harvest of your actions earlier in the cycle! Think the joy of harvest festival.

Autumn stimulates your Metal Element of Lung and Large Intestine which promotes your faculty of inspiration and clearing space. Just like trees start to shed their old growth and create space for the new, so you’ll find yourself gently moving inwards after the expansion of the summer and letting go of old patterns, behaviours and memories. Allow yourself this inward movement and reap the benefit with extra space in your mind!

Winter stimulates your Water Element of Kidney and Bladder. This is the season of maximum inward movement, where just like the natural life around you slows down you can also move to your stillest, most reflective state of being. Winter is where, deep under the surface, we start to plant the seeds for the new growth that comes ahead when the heat and light comes back in Spring. Think about giving yourself deep time to rest, reflect and go inwards to restore for the year ahead.

So as we can see, honouring the calling of each season is essential but they also help to generate and balance one another! For example, allowing the fun times during the summer will help to keep you going during the more austere times of the winter, and allowing the shedding of old growth in the Autumn allows the space for the new growth in the Spring. So allow yourself to flow with your natural instincts and supercharge your wellness!

Richard Brook is a holistic expert, wellness coach and founder of Creative Wellness. His new book, Understanding Human Nature: A User’s Guide to Life, is published by Matador, priced at £12.99.

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