Yesterday, 20th March marked the first day of Spring, which is determined each year by the Spring Equinox. This signifies when there is equal time of night and day, and (almost) perfect balance of Yin (night, dark, cold) and Yang (day, light, warmth) in the world around us.
This 'perfect balance' is far from long lasting and only occurs twice a year. Remember that when you are giving yourself a hard time about struggling with the work-life balance, the diet balance or the family balance. The changing seasons are a reflection of energy shifts between Yin and Yang, night and day, cold and warmth. Nature doesn't beat itself up when the Autumn Equinox arrives and the energy shifts in Yin's favour. We shouldn't either, when we feel less energised and more insular during the Yin seasons. It actually shows we are in tune with the earth, as we should be. Darkness is needed for the light to exist and vice versa. We do know this, but at times it can be hard to apply it to ourselves.
We can often be out of sync with the seasons, having great expectations of ourselves to achieve unrealistic goals at unrealistic times. It has been proven that Christmas, New Year and January is when we are at our most depressed but our culture says this is the best time to reinvent ourselves and change. New Year, New You, right? But is the season of utmost Yin the best time to make big changes? We also know that by mid January, most of our resolutions haven't stuck. Is that a big surprise? Not to me.
The Chinese celebrate their New Year and make resolutions later than we do in the West, when the days begin to get longer and Spring is first felt in the air. Their celebrations often last as long as 23 days and is referred to as The Spring Festival. Do not feel bad about your resolutions that maybe haven't stuck from January. We are much more equipped and supported to make changes in our lives now, when the energy is shifting more in Yang's favour and nature around us is also growing. Makes sense, right?
What is culturally recognised in the West is that Spring is the best time to de-clutter, re-evaluate and clear the way for new beginnings and new things, hence the term 'Spring Clean'. Now, this makes more sense. In Chinese Medicine, Spring is associated with the Wood Element and the Wood Element encompasses and signifies all we need to grow and make changes...
C H A R A C T E R I S T I C S O F T H E W O O D E L E M E N T
Organs: Liver & Gall Bladder
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Liver is named 'The Planner' and the Gall Bladder is named 'The Decision Maker'. Safe to say, two very important aspects of making changes.
We associate the colour green with nature and the environment, which are continuously growing and evolving around us.
We tend to lump anger into the 'negative emotion' category. But actually, without anger, change isn't possible. We have to become frustrated and passionate about something to want and enforce change. Used in an purposeful way, anger can be a very positive emotion.
The chances of changing something becomes much harder if we are voiceless, with others or ourselves.
We look to the Wood Element when creativity is mentioned. The birth of new ideas, concepts, routines, not just babies!
The very nature of wind is that is it always changing. Changing speed, changing directions and the environment it comes into contact with. It is flexible in nature, and to truly make changes, we have to be flexible too. Things don't always go to plan and that's okay. Part of the journey, right? - the key is to expect it and to adapt when it happens.
Acupuncture is a wonderful tool that can help to adjust the imbalances which are causing us real unhappiness. Five Element Acupuncture helps to align the Elements within us and brings forth, strengthens and nourishes the ones we need, when we need them.
In the meantime, don't be so hard on yourself.