Life has its challenges, yet there are many wonderful life supporting ways to create optimal health. The foundation for health is a nourishing diet, body movement or exercise, and plenty of good quality rest and relaxation. Being aware of our mental state is also vitally important. Having an understanding of the seasons of our lives can give you a framework for living more mindfully. We are mind, body and spirit, and all need to be cared for.
Spring: Preconception to Puberty
Zero to Teen
Even before we are born, if our parents were planning our birth, our DNA was lining up in preparation. If possible, conscious conception is ideal. This is when both partners are choosing to create a new human, surrounded by loving positive energy. Both parents prepare mind, body and spirit to receive the baby. We are born into this world for a special purpose. We spend our lives discovering what this purpose may be. It can change from time to time but we come here to love and be loved. We come here to serve others and evolve our souls.
During childhood, we learn to trust life and all it has to offer. If not, then we learn fear. We learn the rules of our culture and we lay the foundation for life long health and well-being. If our needs are met as babies, we can blossom into fully expressed happy adults. If not, many of us become stuck in trying to fulfill those missing needs until we can heal and move on. Spring is a time of amazing growth and change. Children are open and curious – and full of life. It is hoped that this is a time of great joy.
The Five Elements of Traditional Asian Medicine state that the element of spring is Wood. It is the time of birth for all things. The meridian systems, or meridians (energy lines) connected to the organs, associated with wood are Liver and Gallbladder. The sense affected by wood energy is sight and the taste is sour. Wood energy governs the muscles, ligaments and tendons. The sound, emotion, and process are shouting, anger and planning. It is the time of childhood that is the time of greatest growth. The elements are used to determine where an imbalance may be so that it can be corrected as a preventative measure. This is a simplified explanation of the system. The Five Elements can be used in many ways.
Summer: Puberty through Creation of Family
Teen to Young Adult
The biggest challenge we go through, after birth, is puberty. Our bodies become ready for reproduction and we have to learn a whole new set of rules depending upon how our family and cultures view sexuality. Our bodies become ready well before we are mature enough to make decisions about child bearing.
Making healthy choices in the area of sexuality is based on many things. Leaning what a healthy choice is for us means making a conscious decision about when and how to become sexually active. Western cultures often give mixed messages through the media. How we educate our young about sex – or don’t – is vitally important. Roughly half of all pregnancies are not planned.
Raising a child is the single most important, challenging and rewarding job we will ever have. People who choose not to have their own children often find other ways to have a positive impact on young people’s lives. There are many ways to find creative expression. Families have many structures; a couple, single parent, grandparents raising grandchildren, or other family member, adoptive or surrogate parent as well as same sex parents.
The summer of life may or may not include giving birth to your own biological child. The majority of adults do become parents. This event is life changing in a multitude of ways. To keep your health and well-being intact, it is important to educate yourself and make informed decisions. If there are fertility challenges, you still need to educate and advocate for yourself. With families spread far and wide we often need to create a supportive and loving network of friends to take the place of the original extended family.
Asian medicine states that the Fire element is the time of adolescence. The season is summer and meridian systems are Heart/Heart Governor and Small Intestine/Triple Heater. Blood vessels are governed by Fire, as is speech and the bitter flavor. This is a time of spiritual awareness. The sound and emotion associated with Fire are laughter and joy.
Late summer is the time of ideas and opinions. The Earth element is associated with Spleen and Stomach. It governs flesh. The sense of taste and the flavor sweet are affected in the Earth element. Singing and compassion are the sound and emotions for Earth.
A Time of Reevaluation
It may dawn on us that we are approaching the later half of this life time. There may be a sense of urgency about living life more authentically. Things that you have been putting off may become priorities. We become more and more aware of our mortality. Health challenges may develop as a result of ignoring our needs.
The business idea you have been thinking about for years may come to life. You might decide to go back to school, change careers, or get out of an unsatisfying relationship. You may get serious about what your retirement might look like. This may be when you start thinking about selling your home and moving across country. You may be taking care of aging parents.
For women, menopause could be the next big challenge. Your body will be reinventing itself as your hormones gradually bring you to a new self. This is a time of giving birth to yourself.
Men also go through their own changes. Perhaps men become more yin and women more yang. The dance of life continues as we begin to realize how important it is to honor our body, mind, spirit and care for them –perhaps for the first time. We prepare for the winter of life by taking full responsibility for our health and well-being. Self care should be important part of the daily routine.
Metal is the element of Fall. It is also the element of Lungs and Large Intestine meridian systems. Skin is governed by metal. Smell is the sense and spicy is the taste of metal. The sound is crying and the emotion is grief. The process is elimination.
Winter: Older Adult
We are coming into our full wisdom in the winter of life. We admit we are no longer young. Our goal is to stay healthy and have a good quality of life until we leave this body. It is back to basics with a pure live foods nourishing diet, moderate regular exercise, and plenty of good quality sleep and relaxation.
A positive outlook is the best indicator for our health and well-being. Most of our needs are being met when we are happy. We still have our dreams and goals, and family and friends become even more important. We can still find ways to serve and love others as we have more time due to working less. We love to share our wisdom with young people – especially children and babies.
Healthy lifestyle choices can have a great deal to do with how healthy we are at this stage of life. It’s never too late to make changes. You may decide to do some end of life planning so that your family will know your wishes.
Always have role models no matter what age you are. There is no need to fear death if you have made peace with it during your life time. So the cycle goes, birth, growth, death, over and over. We are part of the natural cycles and all things are in divine order. May you be blessed.
Water is the element of winter. Kidney and Bladder are the meridian systems. Water energy governs the bones which includes the teeth. Hearing is the sense and salty the taste. The sound is groaning and fear the emotion of water. Ambition and willpower may have a role during the time of water.
Balance is brought about by working with body energy and the tools of Traditional Asian Medicine.