Spring is here!

It is finally here the long-awaited change of winter to spring. Seeds sprout, flowers bloom, and the sun warms the earth. There is a sense of renewal and new life all around.

Wood is the element associated with Spring. It is a time of birth and new beginnings and this makes it the perfect time to bring those New Year resolutions into fruition. Don’t worry if your first attempts in the New Year didn’t work out you were working out of sync with the seasons. Spring is the perfect time to start them.

The Wood element gives us the energy to
        to have new ideas
        to move forward,
        to have plans
        to change who we are,
        to be assertive,
        to make decisions,
        to have vision and to have hope for our future.

This season bursts forward with optimism, a healthy erupting force offering change after the quiet, still time of Winter. Without this type of change all things would wither and die. It is moving forward, a direct assertive creative energy making no apologies for pushing things out of its way.

Wood energy is constantly in motion, driven to grow and expand like the green shoots bursting forth in spring. A person with a predominantly "wood" personality or Element seeks new challenges and adventures. You appreciate being firmly grounded with deep roots at home. From this place of stability and strength, your potential is unlimited, and you have the capacity to succeed against all odds. Colour symbolism associations with wood are green and blue.

Wood Elements are bold and ambitious. They are direct and forceful, with clear and effective self-expression. At times they are fiercely and perhaps overly competitive but they are adaptable and imbued with a sense of strength and purpose. They are blessed with insight, vision, and the ability to plan ahead. Their determination is strong and reacts to stress, frustration and injustice with anger. Releasing and channelling anger effectively is a key to maintaining balance and pliability.

The Wood element can be liken to an acorn. The acorn has a plan within to be an oak tree or nothing at all. In Spring, it bursts forward, it encounters obstacles such as rocks or roots which frustrate it. But it doesn’t stop or give up it continues to push upward. It is prepared to change its shape to maximise its growth but it still continues forward until bit by it is an oak tree. The wood of a tree, it gives nature structure and shape but does not let anything hold it back as it drives forward.

There are times in our lives when there is awareness of potential (Water, winter) not yet being manifest (Fire, summer) and Wood is that conduit. Wood is that moment of saying, "Hey, what's happening around here . . . you know, it could be better!" And there's a deep surging upward inside of us when we recognize, "Hey! We've got a problem!" And inherent in the recognition of the problem is the recognition that it doesn't have to be like this. The Wood energy is also associated with Anger but there is a virtuous aspect to that emotion. Anger, by its nature is progressive. In fact, it demands progress. It says, "We need progress. We need to make a change. This is not all right. I can clearly envision that this could get better."

The Confucian transformation of virtue for the Wood element is the transformation from anger to constructiveness. It says that inherent in anger is the sense of visionary benevolence that we turn into constructiveness. The urge to get out there and make things change and do things differently, and make the world a better place.

If your Wood Element becomes deficient, you may be faced with an internal weakening and eventual collapse. You have depleted your energy reserves and your personal power begins to wane. Rather than focusing anger outwards, inwardly-directed shame and humiliation result in stagnation. You may find your powers of concentration have lessened considerably and you are becoming exhausted and despondent. If your deficiency of wood energy is uncorrected for an extended period of time, sleep disturbances, allergies, eye problems and digestive difficulties can result.

In Chinese Medicine the organs associated with the Wood Element are

The Liver or the Planner
        The Planner must be:

            - aware of the ultimate goal and outcomes,

           - be strong and forceful to go around or surpass any obstacles, and

            - able to plan and devise strategies and create alternatives in case of difficulties

Gall Bladder – is the decision maker

- it makes the decisions with wisdom and discernment to enable fruition of the plans made by the Liver

Spring is the ideal time for cleansing and rejuvenation for overall health and well-being. This is traditionally the time for spring cleaning our homes, lives and bodies. Here are some ideas for cleansing and strengthening your Wood element:

Stretching - The liver controls the tendons. According to Chinese medicine, the liver stores blood during periods of rest and then releases it to the tendons in times of activity, maintaining tendon health and flexibility. Incorporate a morning stretch into your routine. Try yoga or Tai Chi.

Eye Exercises
- The liver opens into the eyes. Although all the organs have some connection to the health of the eyes, the liver is connected to proper eye function. Remember to take breaks when looking at a computer monitor for extended periods of time and do eye exercises.

Eat Green - Green is the colour of the liver and of springtime. Eating young plants - fresh, leafy greens, sprouts, and immature cereal grasses - can improve the liver’s overall functions and aid in the movement of qi.

Taste Sour - Foods and drinks with sour tastes are thought to stimulate the liver's qi. Put lemon slices in your drinking water, use vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing. Garnish your sandwich with a slice of dill pickle.

Do more outdoor activities
- Outside air helps liver qi flow. If you have been feeling irritable, find an outdoor activity to smooth out that liver qi stagnation. Try hiking or take up golf. Or walking a neighbour's dog if you don't have your own.

Enjoy milk thistle tea
-Milk thistle helps protect liver cells from incoming toxins and encourages the liver to cleanse itself of damaging substances, such as alcohol, medications, pesticides, environmental toxins, and even heavy metals such as mercury.

Diet - A diet with restricted intake of sugar, fats, cholesterol and refined foods is important in sustaining vitality, as these foods tend to clog proper functioning of the liver and could possibly bring on chronic fatigue, apathy, lack of concentration, intestinal problems and a rise in blood pressure.

Essential Oils for cleansing the Liver

Essential oils are very helpful in supporting and cleansing the liver. Massaging the abdomen in a clockwise direction with essential oils in a carrier oil can encourage detoxification of the liver. A gentle rocking massage motion on the liver will help to mobilize and strengthen the organ. Salt baths with essential oils are another way of detoxing the body. Mixing oils in an alcohol rub is also an effective way of relieving the pain and discomfort from muscle spasms, which may be caused by a dysfunctional liver. And of course general massage to the whole body can stimulate the production of red blood cells, cleanse the acids from the tissues and balance the psyche of an irritated live condition.

Some oils that have been proven to be effect liver supports are:

Helichrysum is a wonderful oil for a tired and sluggish liver. It helps stimulate production and regeneration of new blood cells. It is also effective in detoxifying people from drugs and tobacco.

Lemon is a great cleanser, both internally and out. The liver loves fresh lemon juice squeezed in water and drunk daily. The essential oil can be rubbed on externally and absorbed into the blood, which then rejuvenates and clears out stagnation in the liver. It promotes healthy blood cells and tissue growth.

Cypress is warming and uplifting – just what a fatigued liver needs! It aids in relieving achy muscles, abdominal cramps and any menstrual challenges. It also soothes menopausal symptoms (remember one of the liver’s function is balancing hormones).

Clary Sage also helps with menopausal symptoms and can help ease nervousness and anxiety. Clary has the ability to bring up anger to be released (remember liver’s emotion is anger) so it is often wise to only use clary when it is appropriate to vent emotion.

Chamomile, Lavender and Rose are all essential oils to help calm down the liver’s anxiety and aggression. They all help relieve headaches, migraines, pains in the body and most liver complaints by soothing tensions and alleviating stress.

Rosemary enlivens the spirits and stimulates the mind and body. It is a liver and gallbladder stimulant and detoxifier.

                                                                                                                            Go out and enjoy Spring!