Is It Spring Yet?
(A post in which I try to refrain from using the phrase, "Rising Wood...")
Dirty old melting snow still covers most of the ground here in Pennsylvania.
After a couple weeks of this, and on a gray day like today, you can't help but feel like the cold dreary slush is creeping in under your own skin.
We start to feel dragged down. Winter weary. Cabin and condo fever-ish.
And yes, feeling from a bit irritable to downright, "Enough already, dammit!"
Even my cat is going nuts. More nuts than usual, I mean.
I know that for a number of years I dreaded the last couple weeks of February. I got cranky, agitated, rage-y, depressed, as the memory of warmth and sunshine was like a faraway dream. Like it might never come again. Like annual PMS.
I would forget every year that this was a temporary thing.
What I know now.
Besides that this too shall pass, Chinese medicine has taught me that we start to internally shift into the energy of the next season in the few weeks before it officially arrives.
Meaning: Spring is Wood energy. Strong, upward rising, sap-shooting, bulb-busting, raw, creative energy.
You get a sense of where I'm going here?
It's coming. The birds feel it. I can smell it in the air, see it in the buds on the trees, and the slant of the light coming through the kitchen window in the late afternoon.
Even as the seeds are breaking free to release tiny shoots beneath the snow, we are feeling that spark deep within. We're antsy. We're ready to come out of hibernation, and get on with it. We, like the plants, are yearning for the sunlight.
But, until the conditions are right, that energy may be thwarted for a bit. And, if there's anything Wood energy does not do well with, it's being thwarted.
Blocked Wood energy feels like... well, stagnation. Frustration. Anger. Irritability. Think of a creative urge you can't find a way to express. An idea that has no outlet. An impulse that cannot find release. A transition that is difficult to complete.
Heck, I feel uncomfortable just writing about it.
This is what we're feeling in the waning of winter. The internal expectation of "Up and out, already!"
The impetus of "Must. Find. Sunlight."
Patience is called for.
As well as preparation.
Wood energy rules the Liver and Gall Bladder, making this an excellent time to do a cleanse. The Liver is compelled to wake up and do housecleaning of the excesses of winter. Give it support. You will be rewarded with an evening out of the sporadic energy, a relief from sluggishness, and a clearer vessel to through which to channel creativity.
For folks who tend toward physical liver issues, headaches might be more frequent during this time. Cleansing can be helpful here.
Wood energy also governs the ligaments. Exercises that promote stretching and flexibility are recommended. Think 'bendy green sapling', instead of 'brittle, craggy old wood'.
For me, when warm weather first hits, I feel both exhilarated and overwhelmed. Suddenly the outdoors is friendly again, but there is SO FRIGGIN' MUCH TO DO!! And I want to do it all. Now.
Upward and outward, right? Sunlight beckons everything to start growing. All at once.
In the Five Element cycle, each phase is nourished by the one that proceeds it (in this case, Water (snow), but is also controlled by the one across from it (in this case, Metal).
The energy of Metal can be likened to an axe or pruning shears. It's about control, attention to details, and editing. And Wood is also about planning and decision-making.
Having a plan and cutting back on the infinite possibilities will better channel the potential overgrowth, and allow for the important projects to get the attention they need. (Yes, I'm especially talking to myself here...)
But be careful with the pruning.. too much control and you'll kill the growth process.
Also, breathing (a Metal - Lung activity) will bring patience and tension relief when the overwhelm comes.
The emotion associated with Wood is anger. As I described before, anger and some of its attendant expressions, are felt when the energy is blocked. If you're feeling frustrated, try to see or feel what is perceived as an obstacle.
What can't you follow through on? What do you need patience with? Can you grow around it?
(Think of the tenacity of grass and weeds to grow through cracks in the sidewalk. Where there's a will, there's a way.)
Spring cleaning. Yes, we instinctively clean our houses, like our bodies do, clearing out the crap, letting the fresh air and sunshine in. More space. Less stagnation and stuff in the way.
An excellent time to sow seeds and intentions for what you want to cultivate and harvest in the next 6-8 months. What inspires you? What will you need to put your ideas into action?
Also, in TCM, the Liver is believed to house the Ethereal Soul, or the Hun... a 'soul -personality' that survives after death and is nourished by our goodwill and harmonious relationships with others, as well as the remembrance of our goodwill to others, after we die.
The Hun is also the source of that creativity and self-expression so characteristic of Wood energy.
One last observation I want to share.
Earth energy, which, while not directly impacting Wood in the Five Phase cycle, is considered to come into play during seasonal transitions. I would also suggest that cultivating a sense of grounding, or roots, would give some stability to the rising Wood energy, and keep up from being metaphorically top-heavy or uprooted.
Physical exercise, and of course, digging in the dirt, will give you a deep sense of connection with your ground of being.
Want to sow some seeds? Unblock some energy with self-expression? Do it below!