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Pillar of Harmonizing with our Environment

Updated: Jul 3, 2019

Pillars of Our Shared Work #13

Author: Lamia Gibson

Being aware of our surroundings is integral to Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM), and also to Justice movements across time.  We are responding to the fullness of Fall by harmonizing with the season and sharing this Pillar of respecting the truth of our surroundings.  This pillar of reflection and humility, the foundation of surrender as an act of consciousness raising, the truth that to align with what is happening might feel uncomfortable, but it is the only thing we can do to welcome the actualization of what is possible….


Harmonizing with our surroundings is to listen to what is needed for our collective survival.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”– Desmond Tutu


What a powerful quote. When applied to seasonal harmony I hear… “If you are resistant to the environment around you, your resistance contributes to the hindering of natural flow”. Listening with humility and patience, reflecting on my own relationship to what is being shared and acting in alignment with what my environment is demanding is then the most harmonious act I can commit to.What then of the injustices to our health and wellbeing?  How can I use whatever I have access to to channel a terrifyingly real urgency into vision, intention, healing and justice?If our health is being directly impacted by systemic violence then a neutrality towards that truth perhaps contributes to the oppressors power.That is a big statement to make, and it is not about fault, but about responsibility.  The responsibilities to others, to ourselves, to this earth.  Most of us do not have all the conditions we need to heal.  We might not have access in many ways…. but in what ways do we have some?  This is the fierce compassion rising and it is filled with hundreds of years of resistance, care and love in action.Now is the time to respond instead of react…. if you haven’t already, it is time to place near the centre of your life the health of your body, mind and spirit with the greater awareness that no one of us is a silo.  This is an act of harmonizing with our environment.  Our individual health impacts the health of community.  Take time to rest, align with what is practically possible week to week while centering a vision of justice.  Now is the time to try to listen to the world around us, even if mistakes are made and then to learn how to heal with those mistakes.We are moving into winter, a time of intentional rest, rejuvenation, hibernation and much needed reflection time in order to rise again with vigour for the sun and it’s fullness emerging next springThe urgency here is belated. This much is true.The needs of now are tired.  This is also true.The powers of Yang to consume Yin, for the action to consume reflection, for dominance to consume compassion.  All this, also true.And because of this we align with the needs of now and the harmonies of this season. In every way available to you, it is time to centre healing and rest. Traditional East Asian Medicine knows we are a balance of Yin and Yang, and as we move into the full Yin time of winter may we all have the support and conditions to balance the Yin in our lives, not as an act of surrender but as one of resilience and wisdom.We still will act, we must also rest, reflect and reunite or realign with community.To support your growing understanding of How to align with the season we connect you with Alex Tan’s article on How to Stay Healthy this Winter from StraightBamboo.com.Thank you for all the ways you show up for this life, our unique and shared communities, your own existence and the world at large.