What most people don't realize is that health is our natural state.
If statements like these make you want to roll your eyes, I get it. I've wrestled chronic fatigue, chronic migraines, severe hormone imbalances, shingles and spent a good part of my life in the 'undiagnosable' reject pile, and I'm well familiar with how it feels when people seemingly oversimplify healing.
And also, from the other end of the tunnel, as someone who's learned to enjoy the spiral dance of illness and wellness, who makes her own medicine and finds the greatest healing from the lowliest ingredients, I have to insist: health is your natural state.
And it's not simple. It could be, if we hadn't grown up in a society built on disregard for and superiority to Nature.... but we did. And so going with Nature means, in some ways, going against society. It also means undoing many of the patterns that diverted you away from health in the first place- and that's where the slow, deep healing begins.
If you're ready to turn your healing into a dance rather than a slog, here are three practices to get you started:
1. Sleep when the sun sleeps
So simple and yet.... nearly impossible, right? Well, getting enough sleep is a start- and getting more in the Fall and Winter than in the Spring and Summer is even better. If even the Sun is doing more resting than working, why are you holding yourself to the same pace as the rest of the year? Whatever your clock, phone or to-do list (ahem, society) might suggest, you are not a machine.
Another way to observe this is to let busy-ness and bustle sleep when the sun sleeps. Put work and devices away and let sundown mark the beginning time for walks with loved ones, reading, long baths, hot tea, giving an hour to a creative project that you always deprioritize, meditation, etc. Throw off the shackles of work and come home to yourself! This is restorative and healing for everyone, but if sleep is a struggle for you, you will see incredible improvement after a month or two of this.
2. Look up for guidance
Men’s hormones cycle every 24 hours (like the sun), women’s every 28 days (like the moon). No offense to the guys, but we should all be aware that our society was designed and built around the rhythm of the men who were in charge- and who then deemed women problematic because they didn’t wake up every single morning with the same drive and focus.
So while it makes perfect biological sense for men to model their ambition after the sun's clockwork regularity, it makes perfect biological mayhem for women. Women bodies have a biological need to wax and wane throughout the course of a month- slower and more inwardly focused around the new moon (or during menstruation, if your cycle doesn't mirror the moon's); more energetic, productive and social around the full moon (or ovulation). When you make this shift, you will realize just how taxing it was to live contrary to your nature for all those years.
3. Don’t skip the dark half of the year
The Dark Half of the year- between the Fall and Spring Equinoxes, when the nights are longer than the days- is a gift. The Dark Half is to the Light Half what a good night's sleep is after a good day's work. It is- on a massive scale and for every living creature- what the waning/ new moon half of the month is for female bodies.
This is the time to replenish, restore and regenerate all the energy you expended over the previous six months. If you've been wrestling with the need to do less vs. society's relentless expectation of more, then this is your opportunity: you don't have to do nothing, just less; you don't have to keep it up forever, only a few months.
Make it work for you. Remember, change of this sort may sound simple, but it is an untangling of everything you've been told your whole life: about worth, about self-sufficiency, about your superiority to Nature. So set yourself up to succeed with small, steady adjustments.
I'm so passionate about the healing magic of the Dark Half of the year that I created a 6-week course called the Winter Protocol that I offer every Fall and Winter. If a guided journey in slowing down with the support of Nature, myth, plant medicine, movement, meditation and fellow self-healers sounds like something you need, then click below.
As I said above, when you ease into the healing pace of the Dark Half of the year, you'll finally feel how much unnecessary strain and stress you were carrying from a lifetime of avoiding it.
It's important to remember that you won't undo decades of living against Nature's flow with a couple months of going with it. There is no one-and-done option here, but as your body responds to your newfound bio-wisdom, you won't want to stop. As you ease back into the natural cycles of life on Earth, you'll only want to go deeper.