April 13, 2018
The insight of early Chinese philosophers and doctors was that humanity is inseparable from nature. When “in balance” we are in harmony with all of life; we can connect with the nature of heaven, humanity and the earth. This consciousness is the common experience of all spiritual traditions and is the most basic aspect of our lives. But, life is a process that moves through cycles of change. When we are stuck or resistant to change we can become stagnant or sick. Living in harmony with the cycles of nature allows us to find balance and connect with our deepest spirit.
During April we are moving into the Wood Element in Chinese Medicine - the energy of spring, rebirth, new life, and change. The world is waking up after the long rest of winter. Although coming slowly this spring, buds are sprouting on the trees; green shoots are pushing up from the ground. In my garden crocus, daffodils, and forsythia are beginning to bloom. Bluebirds, goldfinch and cardinals are all singing their mating songs.
Trees personify the energy of the Wood Element. Anchored in its strong roots, the tree grows upward, flowers, leafs out, and expresses itself in all its glory. Wind blows, rain pours down, yet the tree still grows upward. All it needs is soil, sun and rain. The energy of the tree, strong and upright is what is felt in the universe now as spring unfurls herself. We too are like trees, reaching up to the sun. What is it that we need to grow and to be our best selves? This is the season of growth - of making plans and executing them. What has been waiting to change in your life? Now is the season that supports that push to try new things, and to make changes.
The Wood Element is connected to the liver and gallbladder. These organs make hormones that detoxify our bodies, process fats and stimulate a myriad of other chemical actions. This is the time of year to eat lighter and include foods that will facilitate cleansing our liver. Dandelion and mustard greens, sprouts, green onions, as well as herbs such as yellow dock, nettles, and parsley support our liver. Exercise also helps to detoxify the liver.
Rise each morning, take a walk, see the buds unfurl from the trees, the flowers bloom, and hear the birds singing of the beauty and promise of this spring.
When I Am Among the Trees
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."
- Mary Oliver