Few of us pay much attention to the cycles of sunrise and sunset, other than to grumble about how dark it is when we get up to go to work and how little afternoon there is when winter sets in.
We don’t have to pay attention because we have electric lights and sources of heat that don’t need regular stoking, and it doesn’t matter that plants have stopped growing because we get our food from the grocery store.
But perhaps we miss something in our disconnection from what our life-giving sun is doing.
The northern hemisphere’s Winter Solstice will occur tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 21, at 9:11 a.m. Seattle time. At that moment, the moment when the sun is at its southernmost position in the sky, the days will stop getting shorter and begin getting longer again. Today is going to be 2 seconds longer than tomorrow, which will be the shortest day of the year, and the day after tomorrow will be 3 seconds longer than tomorrow, with more and more daylight to come as the days unfold.
Of course, this will happen whether or not you and I take any notice of it, but I’m thinking I’d like to.
So here’s my plan: Continue reading
Thursday evening, Yi Ren Qigong teacher Brendan Thorson said we were right at Summer Solstice and additionally were about to have a full moon—which meant that energies were running high in the world within and around us.
He said he usually felt heightened energy for a week before and after Solstice.
I thought, “Dang! I meant to pay attention to Summer Solstice, but it snuck up on me.”
It seemed too late to assess whether the changing of the seasons was affecting my energy, so I decided to focus on the moon, which was still two days away from total fullness. After all, even we westerners acknowledge that a full moon can have curious effects. A home health aide recently told me that at a nursing home where she’d worked, they always upped patients’ sleep meds when there was going to be a full moon.
So Friday night, I went for a walk at about 10 p.m. It was an almost clear night, and I could see the moon sitting all by itself up in the sky, looking mighty close to round, with its man-in-the-moon facial features quite pronounced. I live in a suburban over-55 community, and there is never much street action at night. So except for a couple of cars driving past, I had the streets and the sky to myself. It was very quiet, and very lovely, and I had a very nice walk—but nothing cosmic happened. Continue reading
Cilantro in spring
Spring is such an easy time to resolve to live in harmony with the seasons.
Spring is a time for new growth, a time when the world turns more yang and we do well to turn more yang with it, becoming more active, taking more walks, starting new projects.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is also the season of the liver. In a wonderful article in Qi Journal on seasonal harmonization, Dr. Henry McCann writes that we should eat to support liver function with foods that have an acrid or mildly spicy flavor, including herbs like onions, garlic, cilantro, ginger, basil, fennel and dill. We should eat young greens, new potatoes, asparagus, eggs, wheat and sprouted grains.
I can do this. I am happy to do this. Spring comes, and the daffodils bloom, and sometimes it stops raining and the sun comes out long enough for me to work in my garden. I want to take walks, and suddenly endeavors I was plodding through seem far easier and even fun. Continue reading