The first day of Winter was marked by the early passage of a pod of Humpback whales up our sunny east coast as they head North to warmer waters to birth their calves. During this time a quiet qigong practice on the beach may be distracted several times by a tail fluke waving or a celebratory breech. And there is good reason to celebrate given that Byron Bay, not too many decades ago was a commercial whaling port- not the fierce heart of whale love and protection it is today!
The Taoist Five Element theory observes how the seasons correspond with an element of Nature and relate to an organ system within our body. Winter aligns with the element of Water, which governs the kidneys. These relationships are fascinating and eternally relevant. More on this in another post….
But winter and water and whales got me thinking. You see they all go so well together and its not just the W’s. The whale, by design fits so comfortably with its environment, and embodies the ‘Storing’ energy that is the nature of Winter and water. They conserve by following ancient pathway and impulses and by riding the tides.
This is harmony with Nature and those creatures who have it or can adapt to new conditions tend to survive best.
Humans are no exception. Though our complex brains like to generate the sense that we are individual, really we are not above or separate from Nature. Efforts to resist, overpower or ignore the natural impulses around us will in the end generally bring tyrannies both great and small. Autumn is the time to gather that which nourishes, and to let go of what no longer serves you- the way a tree sheds its leaves. Winter follows, a time of storing, holding and quietening. Water flows to the lowest point and when it comes into stillness the sediment can separate and fall away. What is left is clear and reflects truthfully. This is Winters gift.
We all know in our depths that our well being and the health of our planet are interdependent. But harmony with Nature isn’t only about needing governments and corporations to make environmentally sound policy. It’s also about individuals tuning in to the experience themselves.
It’s Winter- Slow down, sleep long, talk less, listen more, turn the lights out earlier….stop fighting the tides.
And by the way, our September Spring Retreat coincides with the humpbacks journey back to their icy home in the antarctic with their new calves. They wave their tale flukes and side fins at us while we do qigong on the beach. Truly. Find out more at