Many people feel off-kilter when the seasons change, and don’t know why or how to cope. If that sounds like you, I have some great news.
This very problem was recognized — and solved — thousands of years ago.
Nobody observed and appreciated these quarterly changes better than the Ancient Chinese. Their philosophy of the Five Elements not only explains a wide array of phenomena, from cosmic cycles to the interaction and relationship between the body’s internal organs and mental psyche, but it also helps you grow and flow with the shifts in your body and physical surroundings. So if you understand this philosophy, it can make your transition to any new season both easy and rewarding.
So here we are, in spring. According to the Five Elements philosophy, spring is a Wood element. Elementally speaking, Wood represents the beginning of everything — it's the birth of a new cycle.
Looking at the bottom of the tree, you can see its tenacious roots, firmly gripping and embracing the earth beneath it. Moving upward, you observe its impressively thick, powerful body — the trunk full of the history it's carried throughout the seasons. The branches flow, flexible and bending, but they're robust and sturdy too. The lush green of its leaves emits vibrancy and health.
You can’t witness the entire cycle of a tree spurting up from a seed and growing into a 30-foot-tall plant in a single flash, but you know it's growing. As it continues to receive adequate nourishment with water, sunlight, and care, the tree grows slowly and steadily, upward and outward, into a beautiful, strong, living creature.
At its strongest, the tree can have the persistence and stubbornness of a weed and the power to move earth with its roots. At its gentlest, the tree dances in the wind, celebrating the joys of rebirth. Regardless of how harsh or accommodating the seasons may be, the tree remains upright. It’s determined to stay rooted in place for as long as it can stand.
We also experience this birthing cycle within us. When we get what we need from nature, we flourish. And when we flourish, we mature, expand, and thrive.
In classical feng shui, the Wood Element epitomizes life, creativity and imagination, flexibility, resilience, intuition, vibrancy, and good health. When your energy is blocked, you may experience stagnant growth, a creative block, stubbornness, or you may literally feel off balance.
In Chinese Medicine, the Wood Element represents the head, spine, limbs, and liver. When these areas are negatively affected, this is a telltale sign that the Wood Element in the body is either too weak or too strong (or unbalanced). You may suffer from physical ailments such as headaches, back and joint pains, anger; psychological traumas such as depression, anxiety, and other mental health illnesses; and liver dysfunctions, all of which cause discomfort and sickness.
To fully embrace the spring season, you should live in harmony with the Wood Element. Here are eight easy ways to do that:
For your body:
1. Move! Incorporate physical exercises such as restorative or hot yoga to safely and mindfully stretch the spine and limbs.
2. Consider doing a gentle liver cleanse to help that organ perform optimally. One of the liver’s main functions is to break down the environmental toxins you're exposed to in your daily life, and spring brings many new allergens that can clog your system.
For your mind:
3. Strengthen the mind by fueling it with positive thinking. Reflect on and jot down personal goals aligned with whatever fills your heart with joy and inspiration.
4. Learn something new — a language, skill, or idea. Challenging the mind will keep it fresh, healthy, and engaged.
For your spirit:
5. Emerge from the hibernated energy of winters past by letting go of old habits, behaviors, thoughts, ideas, relationships, attitudes, and unfinished to-do lists. Dropping even a single item will liberate you and create more space for things that really matter.
6. Nourish your spirit with daily acts and thoughts of gratitude. Nothing keeps the spirit more vibrant, authentic, and free.
For your home:
7. Place three healthy bamboo sticks with water in a clear vase in the northeast corner of your house to promote Wood energy.
8. Bring blue- and green-colored objects into your home.