Organs: Liver (Yin), Gall Bladder (yang)
Emotion: ‘Anger’- Forceful, noisy, vigorous energy which propels something forward
Virtues: Vision, Purpose, Hope, Birth, Growth, Regeneration, Vitality, Fertility
Body Elements: Eyes, Tendons, Ligaments, Mind,
Energetic Signature: Strength, Vision, and Purpose. The seed of life has burst open and is seeking to come to the surface to find light and nourishment so that it may carry out it’s vision to full fruition. A sense of growth, purpose, and hope begin to arise in our spirits and bodies. We are little seeds bursting from the soil and seeking our own light, sun, nutrients, and resting spots.
We just passed through the Spring equinox, the time of year that marks the beginning of spring. This season is related to the wood element, and the specific organ systems in the body, the liver and the gall bladder (both the organs themselves and the meridians that connect to them).
Before we get into spring, let’s briefly review the winter season so we can understand the connection between the two. In winter, a time of water, kidneys, and stillness, I mentioned that
“This season (winter) is a time when your system is re-organizing and restructuring your energetic and spiritual “Backbone” to support the coming year, and you may not even know really what’s in store. It can feel challenging with our cultural conditioning because this kind of growth occurs underneath and beyond. It is not seen. And it requires slowing down, more stillness, and much more care.
It is a time where we are in the dark, in the soil, where outside appearances look dead, barren and resting. Though much is happening internally. Seeds planted begin to be nourished in the soil, roots begin to form, the energy that we need to be replenished lies within, inside, underground, deep, moist, and not outside where it seems like there is “light” and comfort.”
Did you experience any of that when think back on the last few months?
So now, taking in the activities of winter, we move on to spring.
The Spring season is a time for new growth, hope, and a vision that arises giving us a depth of purpose, spirit, and propulsion to make decisions and move forward so that we can see that vision come to be. We can now begin to move forward with the backbone that has been growing, and the seeds that have been gathering energy, and come out above ground.
This is also a time when many people feel agitation, irritability, resentment and ‘anger’.
Anger is one of the most challenging emotions to face as we are not given much permission or context for it as children, except that it’s bad. And so most people have a challenge handling this energy in the body. The truth is, anger is completely necessary for our lives and is not as much ‘anger’ as you think of it, but the strength, will, and backbone to know what you stand for, know what do and do not like, what you will and won’t accept, and how to create healthy boundaries for your life and vision.
This time of year can be on the one hand ripe with tension in the body, emotions, and often feelings of hopelessness and purposelessness if you’re not able to see how you can move forward. This is very prevalent when you do not feel inherently safe in your environment or grounded in your body for any reason. Maybe you’re a very sensitive person, or you’re going through a big clearing.
Let’s look at the organ systems that govern this season:
The Liver: The Great Visioner
The Liver system is the meridian responsible for planning, and the gall bladder, for judgement and decision making.
In classical chinese physiology the liver is known as the storer of blood, and it’s importance in the rhythm of the menstrual cycle is vital. It governs the “plan” that makes the cycle cyclical, repeating month after month, as well as the release of the blood itself.
After I got off birth control at 24, I was working with an acupuncturist to help me regain balance in my body, and in one session, she massaged ( more like vigorously moved) my liver for a while. That evening, I went home and had my first real bleed since I had gotten off the hormones 3 months prior.
Basically, the better condition our liver and it’s channels are, the smoother and more regular our periods are. The liver is a detoxification organ in the body and endocrine system. It detoxifies the blood from impurities and chemicals that create imbalance. So it is no wonder that it is such a ‘planner’ for the rhythms of our lives, our eating schedules, our sleeping schedules, our elimination schedules, and so on. If we have a lot of toxins in our bodies or our liver has too much to process that it is overwhelmed and over functioning, our ‘plans’ will change as the body will signal itself to begin other processes to support the removal of these things. In relative terms, instead of having clean space to produce and be more active, your spring plans may actually include more rest and recovery time if your liver needs space to heal, and your plans may include strong healthy choices of foods that help you stabilize your blood sugar and reduce toxicity buildup in your body.
When the liver is strong, we feel connected to our sense of purpose and vitality in the world. To a larger vision for ourselves. This is often what I feel in spring time, the agitation of starting fresh, the impulses in my body to clean, clear, cleanse, and prepare myself for the coming days and things I feel called to do.
It can feel uncomfortable for many, as it does feel like agitation, more energy, and can be confusing if we are not aware of what’s happening. Feelings of purposelessness and a greater need to find purpose can come up during this time, which can bring up resentment and anger in any place we feel unable or unwilling to follow our calling. For others it can be a welcome gift of clarity and reassurance in what to do next and where to go to grow.
The eyes (vision) are very connected to the liver, and any kind of blurry vision or weakened eyes can be a sign of a weakened liver. It is important with all the technology we have and the amount of information we take in to be discerning with what we look at and take in, and give our eyes ample space to rest in darkness without stimulation.
The Gall Bladder: The Discerning Support Team
The Gall bladder on the other hand, supports the liver in it’s plans and vision by helping to make discerning decisions and judgements to bring that vision into fruition. Physiologically, the gall bladder produces bile that gets pumped into the intestines to help digest fats and other molecules.
Overall, the wood element and the season of spring brings us a new life to be lived and the strength and backbone to let it grow as the grass grows no matter what we do.
The wood element is about creating a sense of strength and inner safety in your body. You can see how the two organ systems, when functioning well would create a this feeling. If you have a clear purpose and you feel you can make the decisions you need to make with ease, even if they are challenging, you can bet that you are radiating a base level sense of “I AM SAFE” in your being. If you’re not, there’s likely something that says “I’m not safe enough to go for that vision or make that decision”.
Here are some helpful ways to use the spring energy to your advantage:
- Move and Get outside: Go walking, go hiking, get out and be in the sun, get fresh air, and feel the dirt on your feet. I highly reccomend going barefoot when you can mmmmmmmm it feels so good.
- Organize and Create Order: Use that ‘anger’ to organize and create order in your home space, your work, your life, your finances… whereever it feels right. Be easy and be aware not to take on too much at once. Follow your inner gut.
- Take Magnesium: As the ‘anger’ moves through you, you will likely feel muscle tension in your body. Magnesium is the mineral that signals your muscles to relax and is a vital nutrient to your overall wellbeing. We don’t get enough of it these days, especially if you are eating the standard american diet and a lot of GMOs and other processed foods. Dark Greens have lots of magnesium, but I suggest a supplement like Natural Calm. Drinking a tea or infusion of Oat straw and/or alfalfa is also great, these are highly packed with magnesium and other essential minerals.
- Help out your liver with dark greens or liver herbs: Up your intake of dark leafy greens. Dark green foods help the liver detoxify and support it’s function. Eat some daily. Steam them a bit so they are easier to digest. Green apples and pears are also amazing for liver detoxification. Other liver herbs and detoxification tonics are milk thistle, Dandelion, turmeric, vitamin c, and burdock root. Look for these at your pharmacy or herb store. Some brands may even be called liver detox or liver tonic. Maybe you’ve already been stalking up your kitchen with some of these if you’re listening into what draws you at the grocery store. Test out a dandelion root tea or find the roots at your local apothecary or natural grocer and make an infusion.
- Make and Eat Fermented foods and Vinegars: In Chinese medicine and within the 5 element system, each season also has a predominant flavor. Sour is the spring flavor. Has anyone been craving sour foods lately? I’ve been downing ume plum vinegar, lemons, and I just began making a bunch of sauerkraut. Be sure to add in some sour to your diet, with lemons, limes, green apples, vinegars, sauerkrauts and other fermented foods. The bonus with fermented foods is of course the probiotics that will help to heal and cleanse your digestive tract, which will also support the liver by lightening it’s toxin load.
- Eat fresh, light, and Vital Foods: When you think about eating for spring, eat what makes sense. Spring feels fresh, vibrant, and growing. Eat foods that feel more alive and vibrant, and cut back on the heavy and dense oils and foods. Eat seeds and nuts, sprouts, and avocados. Enjoy the food as symbols of growth and renewal.
- Meditate, Breathe, and Be Still: Take time to breathe deeply and be still. Always be practicing what helps you calm your mind, nerves, and body. This helps you create a strong sense of safety in your body and spirit. Womb Love is a great free reminder you can use to make practices that tend to this. And for a deeper exploration and new practices and meditations you can do Grounded and Safe in my Body, which is a 4 lesson/meditation course to help you build a practice in your life and understand the key elements of what it takes to feel deeply safe inside yourself.
- Try new things: Follow that impulse to take a new class, join a group, and be more social. Enjoy the fruits of the world and your community. Listen to new music, eat new foods, explore new places.
- Don’t judge what you feel inspired to do and follow those weird desires: “I just feel like I need to be in the mountains”. ‘I don’t know why but I just need to get my hands in the dirt”. “I can’t explain it but all of the sudden I just want to sing, and I’ve never sang before”. Do any of these feel familiar? Many women I speak to during spring have this insatiable inner desire to be more creative or to speak their voice and truths more often and more boldly. Creativity isn’t linear and when you are making changes your new impulses may not “make sense” because they are new. So follow those weird inner desires and just have fun seeing where they lead you and what they inspire next.
How will you let the vision, purpose, and hope of spring come into your life? What are you inspired to do or create?
Remember that you are probably much happier when you are actively creating in your life, whether it’s tonight’s dinner, a poem, a song, a book, or a new business, or a baby…
For more support with meditations, self care practices and lessons on creating healthy boundaries, clearing out your womb and energy, and reconnecting with yourself post breakup, pre- new job or relationship, supporting the spring seasons whims, or helping you feel in control of your environment, check out Grounded and Safe in My Body Online Course.