Taoism and the art of Hibernation

Baby its cold outside. No I mean it’s REALLY cold outside.

OK so it’s not as cold as Canada.

Or Russia.

But its mid-January and we are in the full depths of the Great British winter. Dark at 4pm. Scraping ice off the car before work. Siberian winds coming in from the Continent. A DUSTING OF SNOW in some parts of the North.

When you take a look around at nature you can see what’s happening at this time of year. The trees have lost their leaves, the ground is hard and frozen, the animals are hibernating. Everything is still, conserving energy for the coming spring.

Everything that is, except us.

The relentless pace of modern life doesn’t stop just because it’s winter. We’re rushing to work, rushing to school, running errands, keeping fit. Modern man (and woman) doesn’t have time to stop for the seasons.

But I wonder – could we benefit from slowing down a little at this time of year? Conserving our energy. Lying dormant for the year to come. Hibernating like the dormouse. Aren’t we also a part of nature? Could our lives be improved by living in accordance with the seasons as they come and go?

In the Taoist tradition the answer to all these questions would be ‘yes’.

Taoism is an ancient Chinese philosophy or world view which emphasises living in harmony with the Tao, which means path or way. To live life in accordance with the Tao is to be in harmony with all others, with the environment and oneself. Taoists believe in the oneness of nature – we are not separate to the world around us but part of it. The elements manifest in us and our actions should mirror what is happening around is in nature.

“But I don’t have time to stop!” you all shout.

Make time.

If you do anything this week why not take just a moment to slow down. Clear the calendar and huddle down at home with your family. Light the fire, eat warm food, connect with each other.

The Danish have a word for it – Hygge – an experience of togetherness and a feeling of being warm, safe, comforted and sheltered.

Hibernate. Be more dormouse.

Come spring I promise you’ll feel better for it.

Contact me to find out more about taking care of your health this winter.

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