This time of year brings the greatest opportunity for growth, and there is abundant energetic potential to be our most bountiful selves. Everything around us is reawakening after a period of dormancy. Let go, enjoy yourself and try to engage in life as much as possible. In all that I have learned, and with all the women that I’ve worked with, I’ve come to see that there are five key anchors to feeling nourished and ‘fertile’, in body and mind.
Of course, eating well and cooking delicious food is a healthy activity to be celebrated – but, with the explosion of detox, raw food and free-from diets over the past few decades, food has, for some, become associated with restriction and denial. There is either a sense of far too much control over our nutrition or, at the other end of the scale, too little – and we may end up seeing food as the enemy, rather than a joyful source of health and nourishment.
Often, when we feel out of control emotionally; and not in charge of our own lives, we exert added restrictions on the areas that we can control, such as nutrition. Rigidity towards food is typical and, sadly, on the increase; people are either excessively strict, or have a lack of discipline, over their intake. Strive for the middle road. This goes for everything in life, not just food. Try to develop a flexible attitude, and the ability to move around the hurdles that are put in your path with relative ease.
I often say to clients, ‘What is so good about control anyway? All the best things happen when we let go of control – like love.’
The ‘fertile’ woman wants to create. I believe it is our true nature to be creative. At school, we tend to get labelled: creative, academic, sporty, and so on and, consequently, many of us will live half our life disconnected from our innovative side. I’ve witnessed how someone can come alive when they finally discover a long-hidden talent, such as painting or drawing.
Of course, there are many ways to be creative and it is an individual thing. I encourage everyone to spend time exploring a creative pastime; this can be life-enhancing and enriching. Chinese medicine says creativity nourishes our heart, and that which nourishes the heart, also nourishes the womb.
So much attention has been placed on nourishment through food and, of course, I fully support this – however, our ability to receive nourishment is something that can get overlooked. Two people can sit down to eat the same meal, but an individual’s constitution and attitude to the food determines how efficient they are at extracting nourishment from it. Equally, our ability to receive love, support and intimacy is impacted by our constitution.
Do you ever find yourself saying, ‘I’m fine,’ when you are far from OK? Nourishment starts with the self, with acceptance, gratitude and enjoyment – an open heart that expects good things, embraces good things and, therefore, attracts good things. In order to nourish another person, first we must care for our self. Nourishment is a truly ‘fertile’ act – and self-love must always come before anything else.
From a Chinese medicine point of view, ‘thought’ and ‘thinking’ are controlled by the earth element; the stomach and the spleen, and so are closely aligned with digestion. In the same way that we digest food, we digest thoughts and ideas. And, in the same way that we can overload the digestive system, we can overload the mind. When we overburden the digestive system, food sits in the digestive tract and doesn’t get properly absorbed.
It is similar with information and it is important to expose ourselves to things that make our heart sing. Feed your mind with inspiring, uplifting information, and that from which you can learn and grow – be discerning about what you read.
There is an expression in Chinese medicine: ‘Out of chaos, comes opportunity.’ There is no light without dark, no day without night, no joy without sorrow – this is a universal truth; the yin and yang of life. While taking small steps towards discipline, the mind can bring about great shifts within us. People often resist change because they think their problems are insurmountable. I tell them, ‘Change just one thing.’ It is better to transform slowly, and for the alterations to be long-lasting.
The ability to learn and grow from difficult life experiences; to turn wounds into wisdom, is at the heart of enrichment. This requires personal alchemy; the ability to transform and transcend problems. Knowing that life is cyclical, that nothing stays the same and we must adapt and grow, is the law of nature. Being well-supported at times of great change will help us transform, and having practices that encourage us – from yoga and meditation, to meaningful friendships and connection with others – can salve us. Even death is just another passing through; the end of a cycle.
Many people are afraid to believe because they fear they will be let down. Yet, when we believe in something, we allow it to become a powerful focus of our attention. When we give something attention, it can grow and ‘flow’. A willingness to believe helps us become strong and resourceful. It gives us the ability to wend through life like a river, meandering around obstacles in its way. Belief is what keeps people going against all the odds; our will to survive and our innate drive.
Fear is the enemy of belief and I often see how it can threaten to consume hope.
The enlightened woman is the keeper of hope – she knows only too well its power and necessity. The internal conflict is that we hope that belief is everything but, deep down, we fear that it is nothing at all. I see belief to be at the heart of healing – and hope to be the fl ame that keeps it alive.
If we are able to integrate these five pillars into our lives and learn to be fruitful, prolific and resourceful; if we allow ourselves to receive love, abundance and nourishment – then we will embody being fertile in its fullest meaning.
Emma Cannon is author of ‘Fertile: Nourish And Balance Your Body Ready For Baby-Making’ (Vermilion, £20). Find out more at emmacannon.co.uk