Greetings all. As we now are in the full blossom of the spring season, I believe it will be quite appropriate to discuss our “Being” during this time. I choose the word being, because the word “health” probably becomes most associated with lack of physical ailments, and here I am referring to all that makes up our current state of Living. Timing, is a variable that is quite important in Chinese Medicine and Chinese Culture. The more closely you pay attention to the environment and nature, the more you will notice the importance of a proper time for everything. Wether we like it or not, we are relatively limited in our existence according to the confines of the seasons. One cannot go swimming in the winter. One cannot plant a crop in the autumn. One cannot eat excessively hot foods in the summer, nor excessively cold foods in the winter. One cannot harvest the crop in the spring. In the wind and cold we need to protect our bodies, while in the cool, still weathered sun we do not. These very basic ideas we understand because we cannot survive without knowing this, however, the idea of proper timing is also permeated throughout all of life. This is what brings me to the “Being” of Spring.
In Spring, we were brought out of the winter, which is a dark, cold space. Winter is a space of slowness and lowness. A time to stay indoors and conserve energy and resources. But the Spring, is quite different. The direction of the energetics of the spring time is upward and outward for all living beings. Just as the plants grow up and out of their winter ground, us humans also become more active. We adventure out more often and become more active. Specific attributes such as planning and inspiration of new ideas and activities are most auspicious and heightened during this season. Other ancient correspondences to the spring include the liver organ, the color green, the taste of sour and the element of wood. Easily, this is the season of growth.
As always with Chinese medicine and Culture, the emphasis is on harmony and balance. The aim is to live life by balancing the yin and yang, and by doing so your deep energy and reserves are not wasted, your emotions do not control you, sickness is minimized, and life is maximized. There are many ways to maintain or correct balance, such as through diet, physical and mental exercise, proper rest, proper sexual practices, etc… The balancing way that pertains to the seasons is simply to live according to them. For example, if one does not rest and stay dormant enough during the winter period, then the exuberant uprising that occurs in the spring will not achieve its optimal manifestation. Therefore, understand the energetics of yourself by observing nature. Just as you witness the trees and vegetation blossom, the wind blow and the temperature rise, consider your inner workings as doing the same. To observe nature is the ultimate teaching of remaining balanced with the world. The ancient Taoists observed nature to extract all of its minute, yet miraculous wisdoms.
However, in addition to the suggestion of observation to remain balanced, I have a few tips for this time of year. Now, as most of us are not completely in-tuned with nature and our bodies, there are some health complaints that often arise as a result of the energetics of spring. In this society, for most of us, our schedule does not seem to care what season it is… rather people tend to be busy most of the time. Therefore, if one is consistently busy and highly active (with work usually), then the already rising energy in the spring can potentially become too much of a rise in an already heightened individual. When this is the case, common spring time symptoms include Headache, Dizziness, Sinus Infections, Allergies, Sleep Disturbances, and Aggressiveness. Now, to combat these symptoms of excess rising energies, there are a few things you can do to remain in balance. For these types of busy people, spring is an excellent time to begin a meditative practice. Meditation is just recently being studied for its immense beneficial effects on the mind and body. Yoga or Tai chi practices are also ancient techniques that are extremely good for calming and balancing. Great for people that might need a little more movement then a sitting meditation can offer. Also, even more basic advise is to make time to take breaks. Make sure on your lunch or break time you are actually taking a break, not running around, but allowing your body to sit still. When you do this and pay attention, you will actually feel a calm come over the body. Breath a little deeper and you will notice all the energy in motion become stilled. Sit a little longer and you will notice a sinking sensation and your muscles loosen where they where once tight. It is important that your body takes these breaks, otherwise the constant hustle and bustle will eventually create pains physically and emotionally. And as always, Acupuncture has specific techniques to adjust the body for the change of seasons, wether you are experiencing symptoms or not.
I wish for this to have given you a sense of understanding of the nature of life. There is and always will be consistent change, in seasons, in yourself, and on this planet. An ancient Chinese Text entitled the I Ching, or the “Book of Changes” is a text that reflects the understanding of change and is dedicated to revealing Truths behind worldly events. Within these truths are continuous references to time, and the correct timing of events. As humans, many do not often consider the correct timing for our actions, however, this is almost as important as the action or event in itself. So, I leave you with this simple advise. Try to become as observant of your surroundings as possible. The seasons, the weather, the people that surround us, and ourselves. The more observant of our surroundings we become, then we can deduce a way to create a balance. IN SPRING, BE SRING… IN SUMMER, BE SUMMER… IN AUTUMN, BE AUTUMN… IN WINTER, BE WINTER.