In last week’s blog, I spoke about Spring as a time of emergenc-y, when you “give birth” to new/renewed energy to grow into your next level. In my book, The Way of Joy, I note that the focus of this season is: Birthing new ideas and projects, nourishing what is coming forth, nurturing growth.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Spring is also associated with the liver, which houses the emotion of anger. When we become stagnant or feel stuck or stopped momentum, it is easy to get angry. Nourishing the liver helps transform that anger, according to the Healing Tao, into kindness or forgiveness. Because the liver rules the tendons, it is also important to include flexibility exercises, such as qigong or tai chi, into your fitness routine.
This is also a great time of year to do a liver cleanse. Other ways to benefit your liver are through eating sour foods such as lemon water, fermented foods like sauerkraut, etc. It is no accident that the deliciously lemon-y flavored weed, oxalis grows in such profusion at this time of year. (NOTE: Use just a few leaves to spark up your salad. A little is good for you, an over-abundance can become toxic, especially for kidneys so avoid oxalis if you have kidney stones or rheumatoid arthritis).
But most important, be sure to tend to any early signs of new life you may be seeing these days. What buds are emerging today?
Whether or not you can see signs of Spring yet in the area where you live, Nature has begun to move us forward into this next season.
Although many people associate Spring with light-hearted images of young love and butterflies, Spring is also a time of “emergenc-y,” where your life force — as well as any suppressed feelings or intentions — may come out in unexpected and potent ways. Signs of budding energy emerge in our bodies and spirits as Nature begins to show signs of birthing.
In my book, The Way of Joy, there is a concept, Circles Open into Spirals, which looks at how the Natural World, and we as humans, evolve through an unending cycle of life, death, and rebirth. For me, perhaps because I was born in the Spring, there is no time when these cycles are more evident than during this time of year. Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, on a purely physical plane our actual bodies are born, live, then die and return to the earth as compost, which is in itself the source for new life.
Given that this is a time to water the seeds of what you have planted, how will you nurture and tend to what is growing in you or may even be clamoring to Burst Forth?
I find it exciting that so many of the stress-reduction techniques for body-mind-spirit that have become popular include teachings about the importance of postural alignment for your health. When we work to align ourselves on every level, from physical to emotional to mental to spiritual, I believe we open an enormous well-spring of resources.
One of the very earliest practices to work with this concept is Qigong(also spelled many other ways, including Chi Kung). Based on Taoist principles to cultivate life force energy or qi (chi) and dating back, some say, up to 5000 years in China, qigong includes energy work, breath work, meditations, Taoist yoga, healing, and martial arts.
Both in my work and in my book, The Way of Joy, I explore some of the themes from these ancient Taoist practices, as I look at the lessons we can receive from that I call “The Three Realms of Consciousness”—Heaven, Human, and Earth.
These three realms (related to three energy centers called the triple tan tien in Traditional Chinese Medicine) are primary portals to our connection to the universe and our experience in life. How we access and use the energy in each of these realms constitutes the basis for much of Chi Kung. In short, the Heaven realm contains consciousness and inspiration, the Human realm contains intention and love, and the Earth realm incorporates empowerment and manifestation.
When you can feel your feet on the ground (Earth realm), your head in the sky (Heaven realm), and allow your chest and heart to relax (Human realm), I think you’ll be amazed how quickly you can pivot your energy to optimal capacity.
Are there times when you’ve felt the power of aligning your mind, heart and actions?
Because the Dragon year holds the energy of growth, change, innovation and leadership, this is a fantastic time to consider how you are growing, changing, innovating and leading in both your personal life and in the ways you contribute to your greater community and the world. Bigger than life, the Dragon is traditionally considered to be a symbol of good fortune with an enterprising, independent, and ambitious spirit.
Water has a calming influence on Dragon so s/he is a little less bombastic and overbearing than the other elements. More perceptive, empathic, and able to “go with the flow,” the Water Dragon is able to take leadership by working with others in teams and fostering cooperation and creative exchange.
2012 is a time of transformation. Because water feeds the wood element within the Five Element cycle, and wood, the home element of the Dragon, signifies the growth of spring, this is a great time to focus on what you want to grow and transform in the months ahead. It’s time to think out of the box! After all the dragon, so huge, you can’t see its head and tail at the same time, would never fit in that box anyway.
What innovative vision will you carry as you ride the back of the Water Dragon in the year to come?
Vicki Dello Joio, founder of The Way of Joy: A Spiritual Fitness Program, is a teacher, speaker and performing artist. Integrating over 40 years of Chi Kung practice with other martial arts as well as her work in Yoga, Feldenkreis, physical fitness and theater, Vicki has developed a dynamic set of tools to increase awareness, transform obstacles into opportunities and enhance creative potential. Book: The Way of Joy: An Evolutionary Process to Awaken Inspiration, Focus Intention and Manifest Fulfillment, CD: Short Meditations for a Busy Life.
As we move towards Winter Solstice and the days grow shorter, there tends to be a social pressure to be Out and About, get things done, shop and socialize. In some ways these two states can feel out-of-sync or contradictory, thus producing tension in our minds and bodies.
In past vlogs I’ve talked about different natural stress relievers: bringing your focus to your breath or taking a moment to slow down to align your body and become present like a baby Buddha.
Today I’d like to offer a short easy qigong practice to help stay grounded during times of stress or tension during accelerated times.
Do you notice anything different in how you feel after you’ve tried this out or do you feel about the same?