Linda Orr Easthouse
As a community, we tend to love the qualities of Wood: the vision, leadership, and the ability to take control; but it can easily slide over to pride in competition, and the need to “win.” An imbalance in Wood, can lead to impatience and either self-criticism or criticism of others. The power of Wood is its structure and balance – gentle, yet persistent, and filled with creative potential. Drawing from our roots, we find the energy to push forward with strength and firmness of purpose, always remaining supple, flexible, and creative.
As beautiful and welcome as spring is, it is common to experience intense irritability, tension and frustration often accompanied with anxiety and depression. Statistically the suicide rate in spring is the highest of all the seasons (except for the week between Christmas and New Year).
These are normal feelings to have, as the pressure of changing energy and the tilt of the earth builds up within. Think of it as what happens to a large tree. Picture a willow tree. Traditional Chinese Medicine explains that, in early spring, as the virgin green color fills the branches and the tree fills with the sap of life, the tree begins to hydrate again with water, the tree feels its potential rising up within it, along with a profound sense of being pent-up. It feels, as we feel, this pressure gradually building within as it gathers resources, for them to be released when its flowers and then leaves burst forth. So, with us, the rising sap is experienced both as joy and as anger and impatience; but we know summer is coming.
In this Wood season, anger can be a healthy emotion. In its balanced state it can be understood as a natural reaction to stress, frustration, or injustice. When expressed with careful control, anger acts like a thunderstorm that clears the air; controlled anger can dispel tension and restore balance. An imbalance in Wood, however, often has the quality of out-of-control anger, and results either in excess or depletion. An excess, the pent-up quality of Wood, expresses itself as “quick to anger,” prone to volatile outbursts, irritability, and the tendency to judge others too quickly or harshly. The converse, deficient Wood, often expresses itself as difficulty dealing with any anger at all. Swallowing your anger, you become anxious, irritable, and tend to blame yourself when things go wrong.
The Wood element is all about building structure that allows growth and movement. So, when there is a challenge in the physical structure, it may appear through symptoms.
Problems Associated with Imbalances in the Wood Element
- Muscle tension, prone to have tendon and ligament injuries
- Headaches, especially migraines
- Irritability and outbursts of anger
- Menstrual irregularities, PMS
- Digestive disturbances, including heartburn (GERD), irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers
- High blood pressure, with tendency toward hardening of the arteries
How to Keep Healthy and Joyful During Spring? How do we create balance in the Wood element?
- Move: The Liver needs movement and so do you; so get outside and take long walks in nature, observe the changes going on all around you, and invite change in. Stretch, bend, spend time in the sun.
- Recreate Order Out of Chaos: Go through your home and office and get rid of stuff that you do not need; have a garage sale or give it away and create the space for the new to come in. Allow new things into your life. Imagine what you would like to create in your life and find ways to make these dreams happen.
- As Without, So Within: Spring is the time for trees to suck up nourishment after a winter of frozen or dry ground. Spring is the time to start a healthier diet and flush out the toxins so that the Liver can do its job.
- Begin by eliminating foods that stress the Liver, such as fried or very fatty foods. The early greens are often the bitter greens and just what you need to help the liver. Use the radish leaves in soup and salad. Add a few fresh dandelion greens to anything you could use spinach in.
- Sugar and white flour should be eliminated or minimized
- Foods with chemical preservatives and food coloring should be avoided
- Do not overeat. This is a good time to go light and cut the carbs.
- Try to eat slowly, savoring the flavors. Use lots of fresh herbs. Enjoy the abundance of fresh foods that are beginning to come to market.
- Let Go of Old Resentments and Start Fresh: Grudges and resentments are indigestible and can do damage to Liver energy. Practice forgiveness.
- Take a Risk and Try Something New: Think of what you would like to try, even if it seems silly or scary. The small delicate sprout would never know its potential if it stayed safe within its seed…begin sprouting and be playful.
- Hydrate Your Body: Drink eight to ten large glasses of water daily. Use filtered water, not carbonated. Adding some lemon juice gives it a nice taste, and lemon nourishes the Liver.
Doing these things will help us bring out the best qualities of the Wood element and allow us to enjoy spring. Recognize the pent-up energy is preparing for the burst of growth and creative power that comes with late spring.
Linda Easthouse, CanBeWell Leadership Team Vice President, Public Relations Committee, Natural BioEnergetics Trainer, Facilitator and Health Activist