Two days ago I was sipping a smoothie in the bright sunshine, wishing I’d brought my sunglasses with me as I shielded my eyes with a hand across my forehead. Today, I am wearing woolly socks and listening to the rain falling on the yellowing leaves outside my window. Autumn has arrived without room for doubt, and has prompted me, in my first ever blog post, to think about seasons and cycles and how they relate to health and homeopathy.
A few weeks ago I overheard a woman who was manoeuvering a buggy through a north London farmer’s market remark that, “I enjoy coming here, it gives a rhythm to my week”. And I thought how wonderful to have a rhythm to one’s life, how surprising to have found it through the small connection that a farmer’s market provides to nature, and how out of touch most of us are with the rhythms of life, of nature and of the natural rhythms within us all. Yes, we all notice the seasons passing but how many of us really understand how we respond to them, how many of us flow with them and how many try to fight them? I’m sure many of us today will be wondering if it’s time to turn the central heating on, to batten down the hatches, keep the lights burning longer and generally shut ourselves away from the coming of cold and Winter. I’m not suggesting that we stop heating our houses or start going to bed when the sun goes down, it wouldn’t be practical or fun, but perhaps we could pay a little more attention to how our bodies and our minds respond to the change in seasons and listen to what they need. Some people will feel they need some extra sleep, some may need more light and should try to go outside more during daylight despite the weather, and others will just feel they need the nourishment of warm food (it’s ok to ditch the ‘healthy’ salads if your body’s crying out for heat!).
I am surprised by how many of my patients dislike the Winter, and stronger than that, how many actually fear its onset, fear the dark, cold, wet, or the diseases it tends to bring. The good news is that homeopathy can really help, can address those fears, the tendencies to become ill year after year, and strengthen people’s constitutions to be able to cope with the darker months. I was so pleased when I asked one patient, who had been scared of what previous winters would bring, how he felt about the coming one. “Oh, fine” he answered, having completely forgotten his past worries.
Of course, it’s not just seasons where we tend to be a little out of touch with our rhythms and cycles, it’s monthly, weekly and daily cycles, lunar cycles, and menstrual cycles to just name a few. I find that many women pay little attention to their cycles, the affect they have on their health and wellbeing and how powerfully hormonal cycles affect us all. And there is another powerful rhythm, that which spans each of our lives in terms of development, life-stages and aging. So many people try to fight these at every stage: teenagers try to look older, plastic surgery is designed to make us look younger, and the changes of puberty and menopause can be a traumatic time for many. The trouble is that if we fight or ignore these natural rhythms, we lose touch with who we really are and start to like ourselves a little less. A homeopath will try to find out who you are beneath the fight and struggle, to discover the true beat of your rhythm, and to help you remove the blockages and find a greater harmony in your life.
So this year I am trying to follow my own advice and I am actually getting a little excited about the coming of Autumn and the thought of Winter. I am looking forward to the rich colours of Autumn leaves and long walks kicking through them on Hampstead Heath. Of course I’ll also have my Aconite ready to take at the first sign of any colds brought on by the icy winds! I’m imagining the glow of lights in the twilight, cosying up with a big jumper, a bowl of stew and a good film, and am even looking forward to the excitement in the air before Christmas. But that’s for now – come back to me in January and see if I’m still as misty eyed!
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