This conversation between Richard Dawkins and D.J. Grothe is about applying skepticism to religious claims, however I can't help but to think of the ways that some medical treatments, both conventional and alternative, fail to hold up to scientific examination. As a skeptic myself, I see that there is value on both sides, and questionable practices too. At any rate, for anyone who wonders, this is a useful examination of our times: http://www.forgoodreason.org/faith_biology_and_skepticism
Tis the turning of the seasons, for those of us up here in the northern hemisphere. Suddenly it is dark at 6:30pm. The train whistle blows eerily in the distance. The candle is lit in the pumpkin. I enjoy this time of the year. I love the crisp air and the bright rich colors of the maples. I love to nest, to make my homespace warm and lovely, to invite friends over to enjoy early evenings. I like to get extra sleep when the nights are long.
I have a theory about humans and winter. In our culture there is this diagnosis called Seasonal Affective Disorder. This disorder is said to affect people in the winter, when they get SAD because they aren't getting enough daylight. I think that a certain amount of hibernation is normal in humans. When the nights are long, our bodies know what we need. We want to eat more potatoes and less greens. We want to go to bed earlier, or lay cuddled on the couch with a blankie. I think that winter makes us SAD when we do not allow ourselves to retreat inward, to relish our warm homespace. I think that SAD occurs due to a modern idea that the show must go on, we still must go to work for the same number of hours, and do the same amount of extracurricular activities, even if we don't feel like it.
But what would happen if we let our bodies and our instincts guide us? What if instead of making ourselves go to another event that happens after sundown, we stayed home? Got comfy? Lit a candle? Spent a little extra time with a loved one? Would we still be so SAD if we just let it be winter? What if we let winter be a time to hibernate, a time to enjoy warm furs and firelight and quiet times with our closest intimates? I think we might find that the retreat into winter provides us with the restoration that we need to continue living life to its fullest, with great joy.
Author: Teresa Gryder
Integrative Physician and Student of Life, Medicine, and the River.