TCM is an ancient system with modern applications. As such, going back to its root can help us better understand its principles. As a medical framework that developed through deep meditative practice, unity of mind, body and spirit with the whole of the natural world became paramount. Although living in and amongst Nature might not be wholly applicable in today’s daily society, we can still carve out time to immerse ourselves in Nature. It is not an ‘all-or-nothing’ approach.
Regardless of how busy our lives are, there is one defining natural element we all embrace, whether we are aware of it or not—food. In the days before convenience stores existed (and in some current societies as well), people would get to know their local fishermen and farmers. Corn was eaten mere hours after it was picked; fish baked just after the boat docked at shore. Food was fresh and pure, and came straight from Nature’s provisions. Today, it’s easy for us to run to a supermarket to pick up ingredients for a meal, without even a nod as to where those items came from. Many items are packaged, and the link between consumer and Nature gets ever more distant. Even still, food is as much a part of our daily lives as busy schedules, meetings, and the like. With three meals every day, we can make responsible choices to eat as close to Nature as possible.
In the northeast, Spring gardens are just getting underway. The weather is slowly warming as daylight trickles on a bit later into the evening. A buzz is in the air! In studying the TCM framework and in embracing its guiding principles, take a few steps this Spring to get closer to Nature. Plant a garden, even if it is on an urban balcony. Grow something—peas, zucchini, even roses! Get in the soil and reconnect with Nature. Once you see (or eat!) the bounty of your labor, you will shorten that divide, and find your way back to the source—Nature itself.
If growing food or flowers is out of the question, reconnect in a different way. Spend this season visiting your local farmer’s market instead of the supermarket. Get to know your local fishermen. Talk to your local farmers. Ask them when, where, and how the food was grown or caught. Listen to their stories and embrace the cultural connection of working the land and harvesting the seas. Meander around the market and spend more time than usual taking in everything you see—the colors, flavors, sights, smells. Make your choices as fresh and organic as possible.
When you begin to cook with your homegrown love—whether grown by you or a local farmer—keep it simple! Embrace the natural flavors of the foods themselves, grown in the soil and under the sun and rain. Spend a whole season shopping, cooking and eating closer to Nature. Then see how your palette changes. Maybe a Summer garden will be in your future as well.
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