In Taoist philosophy, the season of Spring is connected to the element of Wood and the organ system of the Liver/Gallbladder. This ancient alchemical system provides much wisdom and guidance for living more in tune with our environment and natural rhythms. When we think of spring we may feel a sense of lightness, uplift and renewed energy as we begin to transition from the long winter months.
Winter gives birth to Spring
The season of Winter, related to the element of Water and the organ system of the Kidney/Bladder, is the time of depth and darkness. The period for retreating inwards, slowing down and taking stock. It is in Spring, as all around us we see and feel the signs of new life and potential, that if we have gathered our resources during winter and let go of that which does not serve us, we can become inspired to immerse in the process of ideas, creation and manifestation that is the nature of the wood element.
From the Taoist perspective, each element gives birth to the next, so Water is the Mother of Wood, Winter gives birth to Spring. So it is essential to slow down the pace, tune in and focus on deep nourishment during winter time so that the foundations for spring to blossom are well laid.
During the winter months, we can not only reflect but also just be with where we are at in our lives and ponder on what kind of reality we want to be creating for ourselves. Just like in nature, as all above ground is quiet and still during winter yet beneath the earth there is activity and movement, the same is for us.
If we immerse in winter, really be with it and honour its pace, then we open up space for the insight that guides us into the next cycle and beyond.
Hindering the process
There are numerous ways in which this natural transition is blocked or hindered in modern life, Rarely do we slow down enough during winter to allow that period of inward reflection that gives birth to a spring full of possibility. Instead, we may just keep going, always on the treadmill and breaking for a long weekend or a two week holiday here and there, but more or less keeping a pace going all year long that is contrary to the rhythmic flow of nature’s cycles, and which is eventually depleting for the body.
Tips on supporting the liver during spring:
* Eat more green leafy vegetables, wild greens and sprouts
* Include more raw foods as the months get warmer
* Eliminate all heavily processed oils and trans fats, use only cold pressed organic oils such as coconut, olive, hemp and flax
* Try a daily green juice or smoothie with the addition of a green supplement powder such as Kean’s Supreme Greens
* Make teas from herbs such as dandelion and burdock roots, milk thistle or fresh wild nettles and borage
* Dry skin brush before showering
* Castor Oil Packs (where appropriate – consult a naturopathic nutritionist for guidance)
* Coffee Enemas (where appropriate – consult a naturopathic nutritionist for guidance)
* Take walks in nature and make time to connect to the changing season
* Practice conscious deep breathing
* MOVE: daily exercise alternating between aerobic and more cardiovascular exercise, and practices such as yoga and qi gong
* Wear the colour green
* Stay hydrated!
Continuing the Cycle
This all lays the foundations for feeling healthy, vibrant, creative and joyful during the summer months. Exploring expression, creativity and passion in the summer months enables us to reap a bountiful harvest of benefits, not least feeling safe and supported in this universe. This sense of total support allows us to fully let go of what we no longer need in the autumn months; and then we can retreat into winter free of unnecessary burdens and toxins, contemplate our journey and start preparing for the year ahead.
At every step of the way, there are very practical ways you can eat, move and live your life to help you flow easily through each stage. Our Nutrition and Cookery Courses aim to give you a deeper understanding of how our physical, mental and emotional selves – and yours in particular – respond to what life throws at us, and how we can help settle back into the natural rhythm of the seasons again. Come and be inspired!
Next course: East Sussex, March 18th 2017