Beyond Nourishment: The Key to Feeding Yourself without Food
Last week, I sent out perhaps my most important email of the year, related to the Earth Element (if you haven’t read it, it’s worth going back and reading now!). During the Earth season, the most important thing to focus on is nourishing your Qi.
What is Qi?
Qi is the most vital component of health in Chinese medicine.
Indeed, it is everything. And because Late Summer, or Earth season, is related to our digestive organ; it is the most crucial time of year to make sure those organs are able to take in all the nourishment of our food and fill our nutrient needs, thus building our Qi.
Nourishment is both physical AND emotional
But there is another component to address when we think about nourishment, and that is our level of emotional and spiritual nourishment. Each season brings with it gifts that remind us of different facets of our health that need attention.
And so the Earth element reminds us that we do not just need nourishment on the physical level. The earth element calls to mind our mothers (think of the term “mother earth”) — that safe, sweet tenderness that brings a sense of calm and safety in our childhood.
While certainly there is dis-ease which arises when we are not physically nourished, we suffer an even deeper form of malnutrition when our spirits are not nourished. The Earth element is about stability…the earth spins around the sun every single day, as far back as we can know and just as predictably into the future. When we have mothers and other caregivers who were there for us with the same level of stability, it lends a sense of emotional and spiritual wellbeing to our souls which enables us to feel fulfilled and secure.
In the same way that we feel satiated after a nutritious meal, we are able to turn our attention towards other concerns and elevate ourselves as human beings, not worried just for our survival.
A lack of nurturing human support can cause many to turn towards food, seeking to fill an emptiness that only human contact will fill.
So the question for the next few weeks, while we are in this Earth Element time is, are we feeling nourished?
- Are there relationships in our lives to which we continue giving our attention, but which are not feeding us? Are there people who are unreliable or unstable forces in our lives, and therefore draining our energy rather than contributing to our wholeness? Now would be the time to give serious thought to either correcting those relationships, or letting them go.
- Or are we depriving ourselves from adequate physical nourishment, therefore causing a continuous panicked state in our body? In the same way that a lack of human support can cause us to turn towards food, depriving ourselves of correct physical nourishment can lead us to look to others to fill what can only be filled by ourselves…bringing in codependency. And codependent neediness is a drastically different form of need that resembles not at all a healthy, appropriate, and necessary human need for support and love.
Everything, everything needs to be about focusing on what nourishes us over the coming several weeks. For we will need all the energy and stability of strong Qi that we can get, as the energy in the environment around us declines and winter sets in.
Since acupuncture is fabulous for building up a strong digestion, if yours needs some help, scheduling some acupuncture appointments could also help build up your stores of energy now, so you’re set for a much stronger and more energized winter ahead.