Author: WinterJade


September24-27, 2020
Siena Retreat Center on Lake Michigan in Racine, WI


John Lennon on school assignments

What a strange time we’re living through! And no better time for MAKING ENERGY MANIFEST: BECOMING A HIGHLY EVOLVED SPECIALIST! Why do I say that? Because this pandemic has made people realize how much we miss connecting on a real and deep level. More than ever, people are needing what we shiatsu specialists offer. They need it and they know it. Many of us are feeling the call to answer that sincere need. Aligning our energies with the emerging new paradigm will make us strong, ready and available. Now is our opportunity for a profound healing and upgrade.

Being a good practitioner has very little to do with the techniques we use and how well we execute them. It has much more to do with what we bring from within ourselves to their skillful execution . . . from our soulful, heartfelt efforts on behalf of our clients. That’s where the healing comes from. The skillset is simply the means we use to focus and stay engaged throughout the treatment.

Testing vs. learning

Maybe all this upheaval and change is telling us it’s time to reject the dominant narrative and move away from the current paradigm that makes believe we can prove our competency by testing for measurable outcomes. The time is right to adopt a new paradigm that values IM-measurable outcomes, like understanding, perception, insight, empathy, feeling, receptiveness, intuition, responsiveness, sensitivity, subtlety. We may not be able to test for these qualities, but they are the ones we really need in a health and healing practice – and what our clients rely on from us.

So, let’s not “pivot our business.”

Let’s, instead, go deeper into it.


Making Energy Manifest for clients

In that spirit, I plan to honor my pre-pandemic vision of MAKING ENERGY MANIFEST: BECOMING A HIGHLY EVOLVED SPECIALIST, albeit with the new paradigm in mind. Here’s a reminder of the topics we’ll cover:

  • Gridding the client’s energetic field to understand the unspoken language of harmony within. the meridian system
  • Discerning differences between meridian energy and other types of energy (muscle energy, organ energy, chakra energy, etc.)
  • Distinguishing between physical & emotional energy in the same meridian (e.g. if the GB meridian comes up in your hara diagnosis, what does it indicate? tight shoulders? anger issues? dietary needs? impending decisions?)
  • Experiencing and assessing expansive and contractive states of energy
  • Aligning your body for working in the expansive state
  • Heightening, deepening and strengthening your sensitivities for directly experiencing meridian energy
  • Interpreting the information coming through the meridian energy (Hara diagnosis & Kyo/Jitsu)
  • Confidently directing your client’s energy to balance and harmonize (treatment)
  • Establishing a beneficial change in your client’s energy pattern that they will be able to repeat and maintain on their own (extended treatment plan)
  • Reviewing and refining meridian locations and angles of palpation (of course! it’s the #1 essential, never-ending, continually on-going practice of dedicated practitioners!)

BUT . . . the backdrop for these themes will be altered from “a very advanced and specialized body of information,” as stated in the February newsletter, to “a very advanced and specialized inner development of the practitioner.” The information will not change; YOU will. Your experience of your work will; the way you take in information will; the way you put out your talents will.

Making Energy Manifest is for big-picture people 🙂


MAKING ENERGY MANIFEST: BECOMING A HIGHLY EVOLVED PRACTITIONER proposes to review what you’ve been practicing for the past however many years, and make it new again. The endeavor is to purify and fortify the higher vibrations of your energy field. You don’t need any new techniques – you already have plenty of them. But a qualitative upgrade and refinement of your meridian energies and chakras will alter your quality of touch and help your client reach deeper levels of healing within themselves.

Making Energy Manifest through your hands

* Through your touch . . . receive clearer information

* From your touch . . . understand and radiate compassion

* With your touch . . . transmit healing


MAKING ENERGY MANIFEST: BECOMING A HIGHLY EVOLVED PRACTITIONER utilizes your favorite techniques and shiatsu skills as the means to further develop the healer in you. You don’t need to play small, hide your light, or be afraid to become all of who you are. There is great support in this workshop to spread your wings. It doesn’t matter if you fly or just flap them to get stronger. Go for it!

Refresh your knowledge

Revamp your skills

Reinvigorate your Imagination


Our tribe supports our evolution

Come into your fullness.  Embrace your whole Presence. In this new paradigm, we grow together. We support each other. We practice seeing the inner beauty in each other – both as colleagues when we’re sharing, and as clients when we’re practicing on one another. We restore each other. We build up our own healing talents and foster each other’s. We avow these values as our standards.


Proud of you

Envision! the new paradigm

Embrace! your Whole Presence

EVOLVE!  into a master specialist


The retreat begins Thursday at 6PM and ends Sunday at 3PM.

The workshop fee includes:

  • instruction
  • workshop materials
  • individual private room with bath
  • 3 meals per day 

See early registration deadlines below. Payment plans are also available.

For our third annual Residential Workshop Retreat, the significantly discounted rates from last year are available for the last time.  Take advantage of this year’s lower prices if you can.

by this due date
amount due
8/1/20 $697.00
8/15/20 $769.00
9/17/20 $830.00
Until 9/23 $920.00

To make payment or set up a payment plan, contact


Will you recognize it when you MAKE ENERGY MANIFEST? [Does it matter?]
Maybe you can tell by the way I mixed graphics with cartoons that I fully intend for all of this “serious” work to bring us a lot of joy and laughter!  😊

Wishing you peace, love and healing



The Wood Phase in Asian Medicine The Wood Phase is the time of Growth

The Wood Phase in Asian Medicine goes with Spring, the time of Growth

For those of us who live in the colder climes, February seems too much like Winter to think of it as the beginning of Spring. However, Mother Nature has, indeed, begun stirring in yet unseen ways. Think of the gestation of an embryo. Although it is months before a pregnancy “shows,” an intensely powerful effort of growth is taking place in the womb, unbeknownst to everyone. Typically, even the mother is unaware until her Moontime is late. This formidable potency of life bursting forth is the energy of the Wood Phase. Intense. Powerful. Growth that will not be stopped. Up and out in all directions. Manifestation. The perfect symbol for the Wood Phase is a tree: as soon as Spring arrives, its roots grow down; its trunk shoots up; and its branches stretch out in all directions. Yes, it is intense, but it is glorious!

The Wood Phase in Asian Medicine governs the LIVER and GALL BLADDER as well as the sinews.

In ancient times, the functioning of meridians and organs was explained in terms of political offices, starting all the way from emperor to minister to local officials. The Japanese have updated these explanations with terms used in business from high level leadership to lower management.

In this new categorization, the Liver meridian is the CEO (chief executive officer).  This is the person who holds the big vision and is responsible for making sure there are enough resources to keep the company thriving for many years to come. This is the person who holds the vision for the next 5, 10, 25 years. You can understand how this corresponds to the main functions of the Liver meridian, which are storage and planning.

The Gall Bladder is likened to the COO (chief operating officer).  This person oversees all departments within the company and makes sure that the correct resources get to the appropriate department in a timely fashion. This corresponds to the main functions of the Gall Bladder meridian, which are decision-making and the smooth flow of Qi, or energy.

The Wood Phase in Asian Medicine also governs the sinews (ligaments and tendons).

The Wood-type Personality

If you are a Wood-type person, you work hard and play hard. You are still on the go when everyone else is on their last leg. When you finally get tired, all you need is a nap or a few hours of sleep and you’re ready to go again.

Because you enjoy working hard, you may not notice when you are overworking until you realize that you have become so easily irritated by by everything and everyone that you are “biting their heads off.” Frustration and irritability are your negative go-to emotions. In the extreme, they can tend toward depression and/or heavy drinking.

However, when your Wood energy is healthy and harmonious, you are quite naturally good-natured, kind, compassionate and generous. The classics say that the virtue that goes with Wood is benevolence. If Wood is dominant in your personality, you are sympathetic, understanding and gentle. At your best, you are organized, practical, independent, challenging and direct. You push yourself to be better at whatever you do. At your worst, you can be stubborn, inflexible, close-minded and prejudiced.

On the physical level, when you are healthy, you have more energy than the average joe. But you can tend to get stiff in your joints. Remember the sinews? Ligaments hold bone to bone, and tendons hold muscle to bone. So, the sinews basically hold your joints together. Achiness and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, hips and ankles are very common complaints. more about the season of the Wood Element

When balanced, the Wood person is a natural leader – a powerhouse of energy and productivity. Wood people tend to be in positions of power and responsibility.  Liver-type people are often entrepreneurs or CEOs of companies because they have a clear vision and they see the big picture.  They can effectively stay on top of things and tirelessly influence people and events to ensure the realization of the vision.  They enjoy working hard and playing hard.  They seldom get angry, but when they do, you do not want to be around!

The Gall Bladder type is similar but a little less intense.  They make excellent vice-presidents and middle-to-upper level managers, capable of making good decisions and supervising employees.

When Wood-type people are out of balance, they tend to overwork to the point of compromising their health.  They commonly overeat and/or drink too much alcohol.  Emotionally, they may waiver back and forth between ideas, unable to come to a decision.  Anger management may be a problem, as in irritability and frequent bursts of temper that are unpleasant, even if they don’t amount to anything.  Common physical symptoms are shoulder problems, stiff or painful joints, headaches, migraines, eyestrain, hyperacidity, constipation, flatulence, prostate or menstrual problems.

Wood-type people respond exceptionally well to bodywork. In the Asian classical texts, the recommended treatment for Wood people is regular bodywork and exercise. People who have a lot of stress in their lives – even if they thrive under it (remember, Wood people like to take on responsibility and work hard) – weekly treatments and daily exercise makes sense. This is also true for entrepreneurs and people in private practice. It is even true for the stay-at-home parent in charge of scheduling all three kids’ after school activities, keeping the home running smoothly, coaching the baseball team and chairing the condo board meetings.  If you are this type of take-charge person, self-care means letting someone else take care of you for an hour a week! 🙂 If your responsibilities or your stress are not so pronounced, once a month may be all you need.

Recommendation for the WOOD Phase

Although we typically think of Spring as starting on the Equinox around March 21st, that is really the mid-point of the season.  If you look at it from the viewpoint of growth, Spring begins closer to Groundhog Day.  In Asian Medicine, Springtime is the best time for fasting and/or cleansing, as the Liver is the main organ of detoxification. As soon as you shake off that winter chill, you can embark on a gentle cleansing of your system. Check out my favorite gall bladder cleanse.

Once that is complete, the other customary recommendation is to add exercise back into your routine (people typically do less during the Winter).  Walking, jogging or swimming are the most common suggestions.  Pick the activity that gives you the most pleasure and enjoyment.


MY FAVORITE SPRING CLEANSE And more, all for Liver & Gall Bladder

This is my favorite because of how it makes me feel. Plus, I like how you can add orange juice to the Breakfast Cocktail because it goes down so much easier. You may need to make a little effort in the planning, but it’s worth it.

Breakfast Cocktail: 3 T cold pressed olive oil
                                                1–2 cloves fresh garlic
                                                Juice of 1 lemon
                                                Juice of 1 orange (optional)
Mix the above ingredients in a blender and drink this for breakfast.  [If you do not have a blender, chop the garlic finely and stir the mixture, or shake the ingredients in a closed jar.  In this case, it is best to chew the garlic bits before swallowing.]
Herb Tea:  Half an hour to an hour after drinking the cocktail, follow with 2 C warm herb tea.  Suggested teas include peppermint, comfrey leaf, fenugreek seed, roasted dandelion root and ginger root.  Take teas alone or in combinations.  Do not sweeten.
Brunch:  Have a fruit meal early in the day.  The fruit should be fresh, such as grapefruit, oranges, apples, pears, grapes, papayas, melons, or any fruit in season.  Eat fruits alone or combine similar fruits into fruit salads.  For example, do not combine acid fruits with sweet fruits, and eat melons alone.  Be sure to rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly, and obtain organically grown food whenever possible.  Do not add dressings or sweeteners.
Lunch, Dinner, Supper:  Eat fresh vegetables and sprouts, cooked and/or raw.  For example, have a salad for one meal with loose-leaf lettuce, sprouts, chopped spinach, green onions, grated carrots, celery, and/or other vegetables.  Use a homemade oil-and-lemon or oil-and-vinegar dressing.  Add herbs if desired.  Another meal might be steamed vegetables.  You may mix several vegetables together, being sure to start with slower cooking vegetables.  Vegetable soups are also excellent.  A small amount of melted butter (not margarine) or cold-pressed oil over the vegetables is fine.  Be sure to include a variety, such as broccoli, carrots, beets, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, green beans, corn, etc.
Avoid the following foods while on the diet:  All meats; seafood; eggs; dairy (milk, cheeses); bread and flour products; sugar, honey, or other sweeteners; peanuts, nuts and nut butters; cooked grains; and fried foods.
Occasionally, once or twice a week it is all right to have some unsweetened yogurt with a fruit salad, or a cooked grain with a vegetable meal.  Foods to shy away from on this diet include potatoes, bananas, and fruit juices (in excess of a small glass).
Eat as much as you like of the foods in this diet and be sure to drink plenty of water.  Consider getting bottled water for purity and to drink a half-gallon or more per day.

Stanley Burroughs’ Master Cleanser

  • 2 T fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 1–2 T 100% maple syrup
  • 1/10 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 8 oz. spring water
Combine all ingredients and drink 8–12 glasses throughout the day. It is important to keep the bowels moving during a liver and/or gall bladder cleanse.  A tablespoon of cold-pressed olive oil, twice a day, lubricates the intestines and tones the liver.
Caution:  Rinse your mouth with water immediately after drinking to clear the lemon and maple syrup from your teeth.  The ascorbic and citric acids can pull calcium from tooth enamel, and we all know the effect of sugar on teeth!  [If you tote this mixture with you during the day, be sure to carry it in a glass container.  It is possible that the acids from the lemon could cause a chemical reaction with a plastic container that would allow toxins to leach into it.]

Internal Salt Water Bath Intestinal Cleanse

  • 2 level tsp. sea salt
  • 1 qt. lukewarm spring water
Drink the whole quart of salted water first thing in the morning.  Do not eat until 1–2 hours after, during which time your bowels should move a couple of times.  Drink a laxative tea in the morning and before bed (you can find packaged tea bags in your health food store, or you can make your own).  Do this every other day while cleansing, adjusting the salt as necessary.  If you evacuate only a little, add a bit more salt.  If you evacuate too much, or if the mixture makes you too thirsty, reduce the amount of salt a little.  You may exercise lightly during this cleanse, but it is best to rest.  You will definitely want a bathroom nearby!
caution:  People with high blood pressure, or with a tendency toward edema (swelling), should use caution with this method.  However, the liquid should be in balance with the body’s fluids, so it usually passes through the intestines without salt or water absorption.


Every season is a gift from the Creator with its own special purpose. Winter is the season for quiet. For stillness. For restoring reserves. As the light wanes and the days grow colder, the season of stillness wraps around us like a down comforter. In nature, the seed lies deep under the earth, undisturbed. Although it seems dormant, special changes are taking place within the seed, preparing it to develop and shoot up strong in the Spring. Interrupting or interfering with this important process during its cultivation stage puts the seed at risk of never realizing its full maturation. So we allow it to remain secluded and sheltered to develop in peace and quiet.  That is what is appropriate and needed for this stage.

Likewise, there is a place deep within the very center of our consciousness where our soul develops. It is the place of awareness of our authentic essence. Winter is the perfect season to reconnect with your original self, your true soul essence, and to rest in its power and beauty. It’s a time to foster this profound awareness – quietly, peacefully, perhaps with ritual or ceremony. And Yule is perfect for ritual because it arrives right at the deepest point – the very center – of the season. We feel the need to go within and incubate the seeds of our heart’s desire. To remain quiet and undisturbed. To create. To cradle our hopes and dreams in the protected place of our inner stillness.  To tenderly embrace our soul as it matures and grows toward the light.

In the story of the goddess and god (who both had grown old by the Fall season), the god voluntarily gave up his life in the Autumn to sustain the people. He became the seed of grain in the womb of the goddess (the earth), who has once again become the Great Mother and will give birth to the new Sun King. He has been incubating in her womb since Autumn and will be born again at Yule, the Winter Solstice. From his birth at Yule, the sun’s light grows stronger and the days get longer. The goddess will nurture her son and keep him sheltered until she presents him to the world at Candlemas, heralding the beginning of Spring.

For your ritual, lighting candles is fitting – maybe even necessary – as this holiday is one of the fire festivals.  After all, it signals the return of the light to the world. Put yourself in a meditative state and ask yourself, “What do I instinctively do to stay connected to my light? How do I keep my light burning during this darkest and coldest of seasons?” Then, spark the embers of your soul with a new creation. You might write a poem or story; sing your gratitude with tones and sounds that come from the depths of your heart; paint a picture that brings you to the feeling of stillness and peace; write a prayer; gracefully move or dance in a way that makes you feel both tender and strong.

Whatever your creation, offer it to Creation Source with your deepest respect for the power of life. Life is the power that shines the sun and stars; swirls the seas and grows the trees. It is the power that pumps your heart and circulates your blood. It is the power that molds your muscles and shapes your brain. It is the power that keeps you alive. This is the season for Life to take those long deep breaths of restorative sleep. So let yourself rest. Contemplate. Meditate.  Embrace the dark.

The magical paradox of Winter Solstice is that it is both the longest night of the year and, simultaneously, the return of the light to the Earth. The pure white snow falls and blankets the land in a special stillness that protects all new life incubating within the Earth Mother. It signals us to get quiet. To go within. To seek peace. We rest. We recharge. We incubate the dream that lies growing in power and beauty within us, reconnecting us with our own soul’s essence.

The Longest Night initiates the Light!
The Longest Night gives way to the dawn of new Light!
This Solstice, may you welcome your new light within!

Blessed Yule!!

RECIPES for YULE WASSAIL "Be of Good Health!"

Wassail is derived from the Anglo-Saxon wes hál, meaning ‘be whole’, or ‘be of good health’, or Old Norse ves heill, and was a salutation used at Yule, when the wassail bowl was passed around with toasts and singing.  Drinking Wassail meant drinking in good health.  Wassail carols would be sung as people would travel from house to house in the village, bringing good wishes in return for a small gratuity. The Apple Tree Wassail was sung in hopes of a good crop of cider the following year.  And others, such as the Gower Wassail carol, still survive today.  So, here we go a-wassailing . . .

Yule Wassail

3 red apples
3 oz brown sugar
2 pints brown ale, apple cider, or hard cider
1/2 pint dry sherry or dry white wine
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger strips or lemon peel
Core and heat apples with brown sugar and some of the ale or cider in an oven for 30 minutes. Put in large pan and add rest of spices and lemon peel, simmer on stove top of 5 minutes. Add most of the alcohol at the last minute so it heats up but does not evaporate. Burgundy and brandy can be substituted to the ale and sherry. White sugar and halved oranges may also be added to taste.
Makes enough for eight.

Traditional Holiday Wassail – Hot Apple Cider

1/2-gal cider (8 C)
2 C orange juice
1 C lemon juice
5 C pineapple juice
1 tsp whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
Combine all ingredients in a large pot.  Bring to a simmer.  Strain and serve hot in coffee cups or mugs.
About 20 servings


Hello Shiatsu Practitioners!

I’m very excited about the way this May 7-10, 2020 master course for shiatsu practitioners is shaping up.  We will once again be at the beautiful Siena Retreat Center in Racine, WI.  I don’t yet have the final draft of the flyer, nor is the workshop fully fleshed out.  But people who have been to previous retreats will attest that the classes are very “spirit driven.”  And what I’m hearing from Spirit is to bring forth a very advanced and specialized body of information.

Here is a taste of what’s been coming through:

  • Discern differences between meridian energy and other types of energy, (muscle energy, organ energy, chakra energy, etc.)
  • Distinguish between physical & emotional energy in the same meridian (e.g. determining if GB meridian is indicating tight shoulders or anger management issues)
  • Experience and assess expansive and contractive states of energy
  • Learn proper body alignment for working in the expansive state
  • Heighten, deepen and strengthen your sensitivities for directly experiencing meridian energy
  • Interpret the information coming through the meridian energy
  • Confidently direct your client’s energy to balance and harmonize
  • Establish a beneficial change in your client’s energy pattern that they will be able to repeat and maintain on their own
  • Review and refine meridian locations and angles of palpation (of course! it’s the #1 essential, never-ending, continually on-going practice of dedicated practitioners!)

This will be our third annual Residential Workshop Retreat.  It is, unfortunately, the last year these significantly discounted rates will be available.  I’ve heard that, next year, prices will have to be closer to the true 4-day value of $1,300.00.  However, I will definitely try to negotiate that down!  In the meantime, please feel free to take advantage of this year’s lower prices.

Workshop fees include private room with bath, 3 meals per day, plus instruction with supplemental materials, and 25 CEUs.  Several deadlines for payment are available.  If it makes things easier, you can schedule a payment plan in advance by talking with me before the earliest due date of 3/13/20.  Credit cards are accepted, subject to an additional $25.00 processing fee.  Below are the fees according to registration date:

[To set up a payment plan, contact me at before the due date]

by this due date
amount due
3/20/20 $697.00
4/10/20 $769.00
5/1/20 $830.00

The retreat ends at 1PM on Mothers’ Day, so you have a couple of options for celebrating:

  • You can ask your family to wait for you until you get home, or
  • You can invite them to join you for lunch at Siena, followed by a nice walk in the Labyrinth or around the lake.

Just let me know how many extra lunches you would like to order.

I’ll be sending you more exact details in the next newsletter at Ostara (Spring Equinox).

May Beauty, Peace and Abundance be your constant companions ~

Grandmother WinterJade

MARINATED SKIRT STEAK Marinated skirt steak is more tender

On a personal note, I happen to like marinated skirt steak quite a lot, but I have learned that the longer it cooks the tougher it gets.  For this reason, the common wisdom is that it is best prepared rare or medium rare.  Whatever your preference, you’ll want to serve it sliced very thin after cooking. Here’s the recipe:


  • 2 T tamari
  • 2 T Olive oil
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp oregano

Combine the marinade ingredients for 1½ lb. skirt steak in zip lock bag. Add steak and turn to coat both sides. Marinate in the marinade for anywhere from a few hours up to 3 days.  [Feel free to add S & P (even Worcestershire sauce, if you like) to the marinade – or you can leave it out of the marinade and let each person add it to taste on their plate.]


  1. Preheat oven to 450, or prepare grill.
  2. Cook for 6-9 minutes on one side, depending on how well done you like your steak.
  3. Flip the steak over and cook for half the time of the first side (if grilling, grill the steak for 6-7 minutes on each side).
  4. Cut steak across the grain and serve.

Here are some helpful hints for cooking skirt steak: 4 Quick Steps; and How To Cook It Perfectly.

And check out the recipe for Sautéed Teriyaki Mushrooms. It’s the perfect complement!

SAUTÉED TERIYAKI MUSHROOMS Sautéed Teriyaki Mushrooms go with everything!

Sautéed mushrooms are so delicious and flavorful. If you love mushrooms like I do, you can literally pair these Teriyaki Mushrooms with anything or even better, put them on top of everything – steak, burgers, chicken, fish, salads, potatoes, rice, and  so many different dishes.  Like this Marinated Skirt Steak recipe:


  • 3T olive oil
  • 3T butter
  • 1 lb. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 T red cooking wine
  • 1 T teriyaki sauce, or more to taste
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Cook and stir mushrooms, garlic, cooking wine, teriyaki sauce, garlic salt, and black pepper in the hot oil and butter until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer until mushrooms are tender, 5 to 8 more minutes.

Nut & Seed “Cereal” With Pears A hearty nut and seed breakfast with yogurt

This hearty nut and seed breakfast with yogurt gives you plenty of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, while the low glycemic load pears give you a serving of fruit, and the cinnamon helps to stabilize blood sugar.


  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnut meal
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (ensure no sugar)
  • 1 pear, sliced


1) Mix the nuts, meals, and seeds with the cinnamon and vanilla.
2) Divide into two bowls. Top with yogurt and pear slices.

Serves 2

The WATER Phase in Asian Medicine The Water Phase is the Time of Stillness

The Water Phase goes with Winter, the Time of Stillness

Water is a great healer.  Think of how peaceful you feel by the oceanside, or soaking at the hot springs . . . and how restored you feel at the end of your stay.

The Water Phase of Asian Medicine represents the ability to flow through life with ease and grace.  An easy, graceful, steadiness requires a tranquil nervous system and good quality rest as the ground for enabling that flow.

The WATER PHASE governs the KIDNEYS and BLADDER, as well as the hormonal and nervous systems.

The Asian medical classics say the Kidney energy (yin), which includes the adrenal glands, is that of a strong and capable minister of government who exhibits technical ability and expertise. The Bladder energy (yang) is like a local minister who works to adjust the supply and demand of water in outlying areas. In this way they work together like supervisors over all the various organs and functions.

The Water Phase of Asian medicine regulates the hormonal and nervous systems.  If you are a Water-type person, when you are in balance, you are calm and even, you enjoy physical activity and are well-coordinated. You possess the energy, strength and will to persevere in your endeavors. Although you may be tired at the end of the day from working hard, you will fall deeply asleep, waking up refreshed and restored.

When you are out of balance, you may tend to overwork, and yet never finish what you start because you have a hard time finding the perseverance required to stick with it. Or, you may tend to startle easily, be timid or fearful, or exhibit excessive nervous energy. You might even be hypervigilant, over-react to things and appear to be “on your last nerve.”

The Water Phase encompasses the element of water in all its states, from steam to water to ice. The most common complaint associated with the Bladder and Kidney meridians is low back pain and stiffness.  Your back “freezes up.” Headaches at the base of the skull or at the forehead are also typical. Shiatsu, or other bodywork, is an excellent remedy for such complaints. Acupuncture and chiropractic may also help. Find out what Shiatsu can do for you here.

In Asia it is common in winter to wear something warm around your belly and low back – called a hara maki – in addition to the scarf around your neck, as the low back is very vulnerable to cold.You can order then from Amazon. Check it out here.

If that does not suit you, try rubbing the area of your back around your kidneys vigorously before going out into the cold and again when you come in, just as you rub your hands together to warm them. Exercise that takes you inward and emphasizes low back health is excellent. Yoga, qigong and Alexander Technique are good choices. Or check out this YouTube instructional video on self-massage for the back.

Recommendations for the Water Phase In winter it is best to conserve your energy by staying warm, getting good nutrition, and keeping a harmonious balance between activity and rest.  And sleep is absolutely essential for maintaining health.  It is common to need more sleep in the winter, so go ahead and get that nine or ten hours you’ve been needing. It’s justified!

Two types of rest are important: one is recuperative sleep, as always; the other is just as important, especially at this time of year — it is the type that does not require sleep, but quiets your whole being. It restores your soul so that you can dream the dream your spirit yearns to realize. Winter is the perfect time to read, paint, write or journal, plan your garden, etc. Any quiet creative endeavor that helps you stay “in the flow” of your true self fosters a healthy functioning Water Element. This is a good time to start or give attention to your meditation practice.

Regarding foods that are good during the Water Phase: at this time of year, you can best maintain body heat by eating a diet of mostly carbohydrates and proteins. Hearty soups and casseroles with lots of root vegetables are wonderful. Red beans, black beans, lentils and split peas are also excellent. If you use whole grains, barley and buckwheat make splendid additions that support the Water Element in this cold season. Drink lots of water and avoid too many dehydrating and stimulant drinks. Also, cold drinks (especially cold beer or soft drinks with ice) are especially harmful.

So stay cozy, rest well, eat warming food, incubate your dreams, and cultivate your true self and deep nature. Remember, snow and ice are just water in one of its forms. The thaw is coming, so don’t lose your sense of fluidity, power and freedom. You are the flower blooming through it all!