April We Myndful Morning Recap: From Water to Wood
Sharing his ever-growing knowledge of holistic medicine and Chinese philosophy gained from over 15 years of academic study and personal practice, Chris Miller broke down the principles of season transition for us during April’s We Myndful Morning – the play between Yin, Yang and the creation of Chi; the presiding elements that differentiate the seasons and the energy that presents in each season; how to align ourselves with the changing season; and why now, more than ever, is the time to face everything and avoid nothing.
“There is a phrase in Chinese medicine, ‘There are no mysteries in the world, all you need to do is look outside to nature’.”
In Chinese philosophy, the universe is separated into five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water – that divide the year into seasons – spring, summer, transition, autumn and winter. Each of these five elements has a chi to it, or a feeling, that has the ability to increase our health when its natural energy is harnessed.
Chi – the vital energy that is created by the movement of Yin and Yang – lies at the heart of understanding seasonal transition. Yin, associated with heavy, dark, moist, sinking and consolidating characteristics, is met by its counterpart, Yang, which embodies active, lifting, bright and warm properties. Chi is the interplay between these two states.
This understanding of chi served as the basis of April’s We Myndful morning as Chris posed the question – how can we harness the wood energy of the universe to make ourselves healthy?
“Health is aligning yourself with the movement of nature.”
The wood energy of spring is associated with green, expansion, and growth. It’s an explosive energy that brings us from winter rest and hibernation into blossoming and renewal. This energy is as visual as it is tangible – from trees blooming with cherry blossoms to noticeably warmer days and lengthening hours of sunlight. This vibrant, springtime energy is what compels us to move forward and embrace the motto of wood energy that tells us to face everything and avoid nothing.
As we transition from water to wood energy, emotionally, we can find ourselves on a spectrum shifting from our face everything and avoid nothing impulses, feelings of expansion, purpose and drive motivation to the other end of the spectrum where we experience stagnation, fear and the feeling of being stuck in our winter hibernation tendencies. This stagnation oftentimes manifests in our body and breeds the opposite of purpose and motivation, conjuring feelings of inability, frustration or anger.
FEELING UN-STUCK AND LIVING IN ALIGNMENT
So what does this look like?
Springtime is all about pushing through our avoidance and being mindful of the things we find ourselves resisting. Paying attention to symptoms of misalignment such as migraines, irritable eyes, wringing in the ears, neck tension, headaches, tendon pain and allergies can help to alert us when we’re not living in harmony with the season.
What can you do in springtime to get yourself in balance with the season?
Find a creative outlet for your wood energy.
Create space to allow chi to flow – both in your living space and relationships. Consider the people and things that surround you and whether they serve you in a meaningful way.
Plant intentions. Plant a garden. Anticipate the arrival of summer and autumn.
Sleep! And get to bed earlier. One hour before midnight is better than two hours after midnight.
Explore acupuncture. It’s ability to open up the channels can help address stagnancy in our bodies and allow energy to flow.
-words by Tess Burick