Winter - Season of Storage Element: Water, the Inner Sea
Standing on the beach early one December morning as gigantic waves like galloping horses charged onto the shore, I was struck by the immense power, grace and sense of freshness so naturally generated by the ocean. The element of water, is in fact, the most common substance on earth without which, there would be no life. It's role as the great purifier and heat stabilizer for both the earth and our bodies is a key function of water from a scientific perspective and also a Chinese medical perspective.
Our bodies are composed of between 65-70% water which is responsible for the absorption of our nutrients, blood circulation and the prevention of blood thickening, for waste removal, cleansing skin and hair, muscle movement, joint lubrication and temperature control. Each day, approximately 2.5 quarts of water are removed from our bodies via tear glands, perspiration, urination and the act of breathing. All our water passes through the two master filtering systems of the kidneys and is cleaned 15 times a day. There is no permanent water in our body. In approximately two-three weeks, we completely replace or exchange our body's water with that of the environment and it is in the perpetual motion of water within our body and the world around us that the earth and our bodies are cleaned. In addition, the total supply of water on our earth is a constant. It has been hypothesized that our water system is about the same as it was three billion years ago, endlessly exchanged and recycled between all the plants, animals and waters of the world. Amazing!
Chinese medical thinking utilizes a system of correspondences which attempts to categorize and qualify the creation, control, destruction and interrelationship of all things in the universe. Being that the foundation of Chinese thought is dialectical in nature, this system was called Wu Xing, the Five Phases of Change, the Five Transformations or Five Element Theory. These five quintessential processes are divided into the elements: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. Winter is associated with the Water element. It occurs in our area during the months of November, December and January. It is a time of storage and consolidation, a time to rest in a state of potential energy and in preparation for the kinetic activity of spring. It is a time for contemplation and integration of all the years movements and changes. It is a time associated with death itself. Water is the element associated with the deepest aspects of the human mind, body, and spirit. In the darkest hours comes the light of hope, faith and awakening qualities held by each of the other elements, water serves as the foundation for the entire body.