A Five Element View:
In preparing for spring, we begin with an understanding of how each season affects every other. Our sense of balance, as we go into the spring, is intricately connected to whether or not we took the time to rest in the winter (restore, be still, and go inward). Spring is associated with new growth and expansion–the time when the seeds begin to sprout and push upward to the sun with force. Likewise, there may be escalated agitation in individuals as the springtime inspires the urge to move forward and grow after the encapsulation of winter. New growth is dependent upon the rejuvenation of our deeper sources that occurred in the winter. Spring is associated with the liver in Chinese Medicine and with the emotion anger. The liver energy, when balanced, smooths our emotions. The autumn is the time of letting go. When the liver energy is stagnant, it will show up in the springs in the form of emotional outbursts, increased agitation, or emotional stagnation. The growth that occurs in the spring effects summer and late summer in the same way that a plant grows and produces fruits, flowers, and seed. Likewise, a person can bring the budding energies that arise in the spring to their full potential by living in harmony with the seasons.
The energy of spring is expansive and outward moving. It is time to start exercising and sweating more. Begin cooking and eating lighter meals. In wintertime, we would tend to bake our food to more deeply warm our bodies. In the spring, steaming and stir-frying are more appropriate. It is beneficial to eat more leafy greens (kale, dandelion, collards, mint). The sour flavor incorporated into the diet will help to balance the liver energy. Add good oils to your meals (flax oil, sesame oil, olive oil). It is best to add these oils to already cooked food to preserve quality. Eat what is locally grown and in season, as much as possible. Remain emotionally calm when eating, breathe deeply, and thoroughly chewing our food. Drink lots of fluids (add lemon to water). The spring is an ideal time of year to receive bodywork or acupuncture, to facilitate the body in opening and relaxing. To protect your liver, do your best to avoid toxicity in your foods and environment. Some things to avoid are:
-Chemicals, drugs, and alcohol.
-Refined sugars, processed foods, caffeine, large portions of meat, greasy/rich foods.
When in balance, we can make decisions and follow through with our creative visions. The spring is an ideal time of year for starting new projects. When the liver energy is weak, we may lack the ability to make decisions or follow through with them. On the contrary, an excessive expression of liver energy is workaholism to the point of neglecting the needs of our relationships. Physically, this is a time to assess the health of our nails, tendons, and eyes:
-Nails: healthy color, with a strong and smooth surface (not brittle or grooved).
-Tendons should be supple and flexible.
-The eyes should be clear and bright, without yellow or red in the whites.
-Emotionally we can assess our health by witnessing if we can healthily express our emotions, especially anger.
If you feel out of balance when spring arises, seek a Chinese Medicine treatment. A person may experience a variety of symptoms, such as foggy thinking or forgetfulness; tendon tightness; blurry, red, or dry eyes; lethargy; dry skin, skin itch, or rash. Also, a person can have rib-side pain (especially after eating while emotional), abdomen distention, diarrhea, or constipation. Emotionally the imbalance can often come as outbursts of anger or increased frustration.
Through harmonizing with the spring, we begin to feel energized, light, and open.
Enjoy your health and clarity!
Pitchford, Paul, “Healing with Whole Foods,” North Atlanta Books (Pub), 2002
Haas, Elson M., “Staying Healthy with the Seasons,” Celestial Arts (Pub), 2003
Five Branches University education