Updated: Jan 16
Spring is a Time of Change, Growth and Renewal
Chinese medical philosophy teaches us that we are intimately connected to our environment. In the west, we tend to forget this connection, but as a practitioner of Chinese medicine and a student of Eastern philosophies, I am reminded of these connections every day.
Spring is a time of tremendous change, growth and renewal. It is a time to wake up, to stretch your limbs towards the sun, to shake off winters’ slumber. As living beings, just like the trees, bugs and animals all around us, we are connected to the seasons. Don’t let the fact that we live indoors in a temperature controlled cocoon fool you. You are just as connected to the changing of the season as the cherry tree and the robins making its nest in it.
We can choose to take advantage of the spring energy and harness it for health and happiness, or we can choose to continue to live in an illusion of isolation. Here are five tips to help you tap into this energy. I hope you will give them a try, I am sure you will be healthier and happier for it.
Wake Up Earlier
Every year, around this time, I have patients coming into my office and complaining of waking up early. Look around you, everything is waking up. As I walked my dogs at 6:30 this morning I could not help but notice the chorus of bird voices greeting us that were absent just a month ago. There are buds on the trees, the nettles are growing agin, crocuses are about to bloom. Indeed, everywhere I look outside I see nature stirring, preparing to awaken from winers nap.
We too should be waking up at this time of the year. I mean this both literally and figuratively. So go ahead and set your alarm a little earlier, watch the sun rise, listen to the birds, or just get a little more accomplished each day.
Get Outside More
When I was a student I had the distinct honor of preceptoring with Dr Marleen Haverty ND, LAc. Dr Haverty is a Naturopathic practitioner, Acupuncturist, Herbalist and practitioner of Lakota Sioux traditional medicine. One of the things that Dr Haverty said, that has always stuck with me, is that in the Lakota tradition all illness is the result of a loss of connection to the “Wakan”, or some force greater than yourself. One of the easiest, and indeed most valuable ways to reconnect to that which is greater than yourself is to simply walk in a natural setting. Once outside, do not just move through it, but instead connect with it. Notice it. Appreciate it. See the buds on the trees, listen to the birds, and then move beyond seeing and really sense them. Open your heart to the life that is emerging all around you and your heart will be better for it.
More about Dr Havetry and her practice here: http://sevencirclesnaturalmedicine.com/who.php
Start Something New
Spring is the time of new beginnings. If there is something you have been wanting to do, some unfulfilled longing, now is the time. Have you been wanting to go back to school? Change jobs or maybe relocate? If so now is the time. If you can not complete the actual transition, at least plant the seeds. Make your intentions known and set the process in motion. This is a natural time of change, embrace it.
Many of you know that I am in the process of trying to find larger space for my practice. The timing of this expansion is not coincidental. Springtime is the perfect time to grow and expand. This growth can be literal or figurative, physical or spiritual. Take some time to examine the aspects of your life that feel constrained. There is a good chance that the spring energy will help facilitate the needed growth.
Just like a gardener understands that it is not enough to simple throw seeds on the ground, you too need to understand that merely wishing for growth is not enough. You need to cultivate the soil and apply the needed water fertilizer, you need to watch for weeds or other forces that would try to undermine your efforts. Still, this is the time to plant the seeds and do the work. Do so and you will be rewarded in the summer and fall with the fruits of your efforts.
Springtime is also the time of the year when reproductive energy surges. This does not mean we need to all have babies! It does however mean that there is an opportunity to strengthen the relationships we have with the people we love. While this is certainly true for relationships with our spouses and partners, it is equally true for any significant relationship; parents, children, siblings, friends and coworkers. Look especially at those areas of the relationship that have withered, or fallen into neglect and decay. The springtime reminds us that not all decay is death, indeed decay is a natural and necessary part of the cycle of life. The leaves that fell to the earth last fall nourish this year’s growth. Commit yourself to renewing the bonds that tie you to the important people in your life. Better yet, do so while taking them for an early morning walk in the woods.