Spring is upon us...
Watch the sprouts and plants of the earth come alive this spring, how life re-emerges from the winter. Notice the young shoots spring up overnight, quickly adapting to life’s obstacles, fulfilling its destiny by becoming the predetermined form embedded in its genetic code. Spring is the time for renewal and growth. According to Chinese philosophy and medicine, this is the season of the liver and gallbladder. These organs are known collectively as the Wood element, or more correctly, the phase of change associated with Wood. This element assures the evolutionary growth and promotion of all species.
Our liver acts like a military general. It is in charge of assessing the situation, making plans and helping us to remain flexible, adjusting to the metaphorical “wind,” or change, in our lives. The gallbladder gives us determination and the ability to make decisions. Spring is the time of making plans and putting them into action, while remaining flexible to blockages. Plants steadily grow, climb and proliferate as a guide for us to emulate in the growth of our lives, despite the barriers put before it.
In Chinese medicine, the emotion of the liver is anger. We can see this when we get frustrated with hurdles and quagmires in our life. What we don’t talk much about is the virtue of spring: benevolence. This virtue is ruled by our internal vision of non-attachment and spontaneity.
Zhuangzi said it best, “The way I see it, the rules of benevolence and righteousness and the paths of right and wrong are all hopelessly snarled and jumbled. How could I know anything about such discrimination...when virtue embraces all things, we have benevolence.”
Our vision of ourselves and our world can be clouded or overstimulated with choices. The virtue of benevolence is captured by the blending of duality into a harmonious whole. This resolution requires the forgiveness of ourselves and others, releasing all judgements about what is right and wrong, and accepting the actions of others as the best that was available at that time.
Impact of the Wood Elements on Qi & Blood
Our liver is in charge of the smooth flow of qi. When we come against resistance in life, our Wood element must get involved to make plans to continue our path of growth. When we face an obstacle, the flow of qi is disrupted and can affect the digestion, emotional state, and the flow of bile from the gallbladder. Our liver also controls the storing of blood and regulates the volume of blood. In Chinese medicine, we believe our emotions are carried in our blood. When qi becomes constrained, our blood volume can become diminished causing our emotions to become unstable. Notice in times of stress, when liver qi is impacted, how the digestion and/or emotional state is altered. Interestingly, the character for constraint, is the characters for tree inside a box.
The gallbladder releases bile into the small intestine to break down fats into useable energy for our bodies. When we have trouble releasing bile to digest these fats we may also have trouble “digesting” the obstacles in our lives. Our decision making may become muddled and confused to what our true path may be. When there is this problem, beware of absolute, hyperbolic, or one-sided thinking. Remain flexible, see all sides, options, and possibilities before setting your best course of action.
The wood elements direction of movement is up and out. Spring is an opportune time to use this energetics to clear away unwanted skin conditions. Call us today to begin your work on your dermatological distress.
It is time to clean our homes but also our bodies. We accumulate the physical and emotional residue of our lives over the last year. The edible plants coming alive around us are a great way to rid the toxins accrued. Spinach, dandelion, and leafy greens are some foods we can eat to support and clean us out.
Our Wood element creates and supports our eyes. It gives us perspective and vision for our life’s path. Our external world-view and our internal self awareness. Have benevolence for yourself and keep the emotion of the liver, anger, in check.