Happy new year to all! There is a wonderful dichotomy around the intelligence of new year’s resolutions from a Chinese Medical perspective. While on one hand we know time and our calendar to be manmade, on the other hand there is a correspondence with the seasons that is scientific and therefore significant to our choices—not to mention this year, where the new year falls within one day of today’s new moon.
Winter is the time of the kidneys (or in western terms, adrenal and hormonal health), when they are vulnerable to depletion and should therefore be most nourished and protected. The best way to “nourish the kidney qi” (or preserve good hormonal health) is through temperate activity:
· Going to bed before 10pm and closing your eyes for at least 15 minutes during the day
· Limiting over-work/exertion as much as possible
· Eating small, but consistent portions of high calorie foods such as lamb, butter, beef, and pork. (Although the greasiness of pork can give rise to fluid retention during the humid summer months when we already absorb plenty of energy from the environment itself, it becomes less harmful in the dry and bitter cold winter when even a long walk to the train can sometimes feel exhausting—of course nitrite and hormone free is highly preferable)
The psycho-spiritual aspect of the kidneys, in Chinese, is our “zhi” (pronounced “zher”), in reference to our will or discipline, which informs us that winter might possibly be a challenging time to keep up with declarations, form new, positive habits, or let go of bad ones.
Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean to forego whatever resolutions you may have towards self-improvement. Just to be kind to yourself, be forgiving if and when you slip up, and try, try again throughout the calendar year. Remember, there are 12 new moons and many new years from many cultural traditions to use to start anew.
As for myself, I am choosing to rededicate myself to two self-preservation exercises that fell by the wayside since my daughter was born five months ago: Daily meditation and intermittent fasting (I do and recommend mostly 14 and 10 hour windows—not 16 and 8), as one of the more serious thoughts a new parent is faced with in between “Goo-goo-gaga” tummy-blowing sessions is the reminder that our children serve of our mortality.
My hope, for all of us, is not only to live to the triple digits, but to live well, and unfortunately in the present world climate the deck is a bit stacked against this intention, which makes our “zhi” and kidney health an all too logical value to prioritize.