Spring has finally arrived on the west coast, breezing in with her trademark lightness and brightness, all blossoms and renewal. For many of us, spring can feel both sweet and difficult. After a long winter hibernation, many are ‘stumbling out of their cave’, and although those brilliant shafts of spring sunlight feel nurturing and soft, it can also be somewhat of a rough transition. As we dust ourselves off from our heavy winter slumber and heave toward the door, the bright light can be almost searing. Interestingly enough, Spring is the season that correlates with the Wood Element, which relates to seeing clearly and having clear vision. In Chinese Medicine, the Wood Element also relates to energies peaking in the Liver and Gallbladder.
That infusion of fresh energy you’re experiencing? That is the rapid rise of energy levels in these two key organs. The Liver is referred to as the General, whose job it is to keep things moving smoothly. In spring, the Liver will guide and direct your energies. Not surprisingly, the eyes are the opening of the Liver. The combination of the Wood Element and the Liver bring increased focus on seeing things as they really are, having a clear vision and dropping any blinders you may have on.
Opportunity: New Beginnings. Budding
WIth both the Wood Element and the Liver in play, you can take advantage of this time to evaluate your perception of things in your life and experience a clarity in vision. Be gentle as you explore this new view though, it can sometimes be jarring to see things as they really are. The beauty in this clarity is the opportunity to create new beginnings. This is the time to plant the seeds of the things you want to grow in your life this year.
So take some time to walk in the fresh air and contemplate what you wish to nurture in your life - the time to plant those seeds is now.
Threats: Injuries and Allergies - Wind, Toxins, Pollens
As we begin to emerge from our winter bodies, it may be tempting to go for that three hour hike that we’ve been dreaming of all winter or a long run. But, it’s easy to overexert ourselves and wind up with an injury, so it is important to emerge gently. Begin moving with ease and always be careful to take the time to warm up, hydrate and stretch. Get back to your peak mobility incrementally to avoid a strain or injury. Like the trees, we are most resilient when flexible and hydrated, so we won’t snap in the wind.
Just like physical injuries, this seasonal transition can also leave us vulnerable to catching cold. Spring, with its sunshine and flowers, can sometimes trick us into thinking it’s warmer than it actually is, and the weather changes quickly here on the west coast. So when you’re out enjoying the warmer weather, be careful to remove layers slowly to keep yourself protected from sudden changes in temperature. If you’re caught out in clothing that’s too light, it can lead to neck pain or catching a cold.
And finally, I don’t have to tell anyone with seasonal allergies that this season may be a challenge. Extra allergens in the air challenge our system. If we are already “full” then the symptoms will be more intense. Avoiding phlegm producing foods will be an essential tool to triumph through this allergy season. Phlegm producing foods include dairy, alcohol, processed sugars and flours, spicy, shellfish and too much meat. Start each day with a tall glass of warm water with lemon and/or apple cider vinegar. This kickstarts the cleaning process, fulfilling the mind and body’s intention to clean the system.
Out with the old! Now is the time to let go of things in our life that are no longer serving us. Spring is a transition season and as such it’s a perfect time to cleanse. So go for it: cleanse the body, the soul, the home. Decluttering with a less rich diet, more water, even an official internal cleanse if you will; will help you move freely into the new season. If you feel like you need some extra support during this time, book an appointment. Acupuncture is a wonderful way to help with many of the common and not so common symptoms of spring renewal.